Despite being in exile in Belgium since the failed independence bid in Catalonia in October 2017, the political party of Carles Puigdemont does not rule out the possibility of the exiled Catalan president being reinstated. Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) said on Monday that it “hopes” that the European Court of Justice’s upcoming decision on jailed leader Oriol Junqueras’ parliamentary immunity “opens up a new scenario” for Puigdemont’s political future.
The court is due to announce a decision on December 19 on whether Junqueras, who is serving 13 years in prison for his part in the 2017 independence bid, should have parliamentary immunity after he won a seat as an MEP in May. A ruling favorable to Junqueras could be “a very important political victory” that would see Puigdemont’s “political rights” recognized, says JxCat, as the former president has also been prevented from taking up the seat he won in the European Parliament.
With the current president, Quim Torra, at risk of being barred from public office should his trial for disobedience go against him, JxCat points out that Puigdemont is still an elected MP in the Catalan parliament and that his seat has not been “suspended.” Following a meeting of the party leadership in Belgium on Monday, JxCat MP in the Spanish congress, Laura Borràs, said there had so far been no discussions about trying to re-invest Puigdemont, but that he remains the party’s main candidate for president.
Meanwhile, the unionist Ciutadans party hit out at Torra for visiting Puigdemont, accusing him of going to Belgium “to receive orders from a fugitive” about how to proceed in the talks with the Spanish Socialists, who need support to invest their leader Pedro Sánchez.