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Spain: Charles Puigdemont abandons bid to reclaim power

Spain: Charles Puigdemont abandons bid to reclaim power

Carles Puigdemont officially announced on Friday he withdraws himself from a bid for a second term in the Spanish legislative assembly. The former Catalan leader who lives in Belgium in exile posted a video on social media.

Carles Puigdemont, the former leader of Catalan separatists, went into exile after he and his administrations were sacked by the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy last autumn. Mr Puigdemont had earlier campaigned in December 2017 to be reinstated as a Catalan leader and was supported by various independent political groups, which demanded Puigdemont to govern remotely.

But his official announcement on Friday became a surprise for many his followers. In a 13-minute video, Puigdemont said clearly:

“I will not put myself forward as candidate to be appointed regional president.”

Charles Puigdemont preferred to be in self-exile in Belgium and wanted in Spain for his role in the failed secession bid, said in a video posted on social media. The politician later spearheaded the Spanish northeastern region’s secessionist movement, which is now left in a lurch as he has declared to quit from the campaign.

In a video, Puigdemont further proposed the name of pro-independence campaigner Jordi Sanchez to take forward the campaign for pro-succession. Jordi Sanchez is currently in a Madrid prison on the charges of sedition. In other words, one exiled leader offers another prisoned leader to run for the regional presidency.

Madrid’s reaction to Catalan independence efforts

Puigdemont has been facing charges of sedition and rebellion in Spain and is likely to be arrested if he returns. Catalan parliamentary legal experts and the Spanish government as well rejected the notion of him governing from Brussels.

Catalonia is being ruled directly from Madrid ever since Mariano Rajoy invoked the constitutional powers to take over the government in the region, but Puigdemont believes his withdrawal was the only way to get a new government underway.