Exiled Leader Puigdemont Withdraws As Candidate For Catalan Presidency

14 May, 2018, 00:16 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Madrid blocks second Puigdemont comeback bid in Catalonia

Radical leftists say they will not block separatist candidate.

Puigdemont was president of Catalonia in October when he supported a referendum seeking independence from Spain.

Former leader Carles Puigdemont, now living in Germany, put forward little-known Catalan member of parliament Quim Torra as the new candidate in a televised address published on social networks late on Thursday.

If he does not get this backing, a simple majority in a second vote 48 hours later, on Monday, will be sufficient under Spanish electoral law.

He soon made a name for himself in Catalan nationalist circles, joining various separatist organisations, including those that helped organise the huge rallies that eventually led to last year's independence push and subsequent political crisis.

He was handpicked by the deposed former president, Carles Puigdemont, regarded by secessionists as the rightful leader but now in Germany facing extradition proceedings on rebellion charges.

Fresh polls will be triggered if a new leader is not elected by May 22.


He proposed political newcomer Quim Torra as his successor, urging the next regional executive to build an independent country.

Government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said earlier the Catalan parliament would not be able to call a session to appoint Puigdemont "at the risk of committing the offence of disobedience".

But he has been a major cultural figure over the last decade pushing for the region to fully break from Spain.

On Oct 27, Madrid sacked Puigdemont and his entire cabinet, and called regional elections in December which separatist parties won again.

Puigdemont is now in Germany after being detained there in March on a European arrest warrant against him issued by Spain.

Madrid wants to extradite him to Spain to try him on charges of rebellion - which carries up to 30 years in prison - and misuse of public funds for his role in the secession drive.

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