Catalan exiled president Carles Puigdemont says he will be back in Catalonia if he wins a seat in the European Parliament in the May 26 elections –on the basis that the EU would “guarantee his immunity”. Exiled in Belgium, the pro-independence leader said on a radio interview that he would have immunity “from the moment” he was elected.
Puigdemont also claimed that the obligation for MEPs to register in their own member state, which would normally take place in Madrid, does not have to be carried out in person.
Puigdemont made a similar claim in the aftermath of the December 2017 Catalan elections, promising to return if we won. The pro-independence leader eventually claimed that there was no need for him to be physically present for his swearing in session as Catalan president. However, the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled that he could not assume the presidency from abroad.
Puigdemont still hopes to be reinstated as Catalan president –at the moment, he is an MP temporarily suspended by Spain’s judiciary. His parliamentary group has been trying to modify the Catalan parliament’s regulation so that it allows swearing in a president by proxy for a year.
In this case, Puigdemont argues that the decision would rest with the European Parliament, stating that “Europe has the last word on this, not the Spanish Electoral Board.”