Exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont will run in the European election for MEP in the May 26 election. Puigdemont will top the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya candidacy, while his former vice president, Oriol Junqueras, will head the Esquerra Republicana ticket, accompanied by Diana Riba, wife of imprisoned former Foreign Affairs minister Raül Romeva. Junqueras will also lead Esquerra’s list to the Spanish election.
The former head of the Catalan government, who is in exile in Belgium since October 2017, commented on it through his social media accounts after some party members announced it in a press conference: “It is time to make another step to internationalize Catalonia’s right of self-determination from the heart of Europe to the world”, he tweeted.
Will they be able to take office?
It remains unclear whether either Puigdemont or Junqueras will be able to take office as MEPs in case they are elected. Both of them face a temporary suspension as MPs in the Catalan parliament.
Spain’s Supreme Court enforced in July 2018 an article of the criminal code enabling for individuals facing rebellion charges and a prison warrant to be temporarily suspended from public office until the verdict on their cases is out.
Jailed former home affairs minister Joaquim Forn will run for Barcelona mayor in the May local election on a pro-independence ticket. “I have taken the decision to head an integrating, trustworthy and inclusive candidacy in order to win Barcelona’s mayorship,” he said.
“I am running for mayor because I have that right, and not doing so would be to accept the arguments of those who have artificially constructed the narrative keeping me in prison,” he added. Forn was Catalan home affairs minister from July to October 2017, and his term in office coincided with the Barcelona terrorist attacks of August 2017, and the independence referendum.
Jailed activist Jordi Sànchez, who is one of the 12 pro-independence leaders in the dock in the Spanish Supreme Court, is expected to lead a pro-independence ticket in the April 28 Spanish election. Sànchez is one of the founders of former president Carles Puigdemont’s new movement, Crida Nacional, which stems from the ruling Junts per Catalunya.
Montse Bassa, sister of jailed former labor minister Dolors Bassa will top pro-independence Esquerra Republicana’s ticket in the Girona candidacy.