Carles Puigdemont Return’s to the Catalonian Political Scene

Politics - March 25, 2024

In an expected yet equally infuriating turn of events for many, Carles Puigdemont, the individual who defied the Spanish rule of law by promoting an illegal independence referendum in Catalonia in 2017, is now positioning himself as a potential candidate for the regional elections. This time, he has done so from the French town of Elna, cynically evoking separatist symbolism as it was the hiding place for ballot boxes and the printing press of ballots for the illegal referendum of October 1st.

Puigdemont, who is currently a fugitive from Spanish justice, has announced his potential candidacy through his party, JxCat, sparking a wave of criticism and concerns among those who still value legality and constitutional order. His return as a candidate for regional elections is, in itself, a defiant act against authority and a mockery of Spanish justice.

Most surprising of all is Puigdemont’s expectation to return to Catalonia to participate in the investiture debate at the end of June, relying on the approval of an amnesty law that would erase the consequences of his illegal actions. However, this law would not only undermine the foundations of justice but also send a dangerous message of impunity and disregard for the rule of law.

It is important to remember that Puigdemont was never invested as President of the Generalitat after the 2017 elections due to legal restrictions imposed by the Constitutional Court. Now, his return as a candidate raises the uncomfortable question of whether a fugitive from justice will be allowed to hold a high-level political position.

Puigdemont’s lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, has stated that his client is willing to face the consequences of returning to Catalonia, even if it means being arrested. This defiant stance only reinforces the perception that Puigdemont considers himself above the law and is willing to seize any opportunity to advance his separatist agenda, regardless of the cost to stability and legal order.

Within this context, it is also worth noting the collaboration between Pedro Sánchez and Junts per Catalunya to facilitate his investiture as President of the Government, revealing the Spanish president’s desperation to stay in power at any cost. From the initial negotiations with separatist and radical groups, the relationship between the Government and Junts has been a blatant display of disrespect towards institutions, as well as towards the rule of law.

The attempt to divide terrorism into convenient categories to exclude leaders of the independence process from any legal responsibility is a direct challenge to justice and consequently to the judges who participated in the October 1st verdict. This opportunistic approach once again demonstrates that both Sánchez and the leaders of Junts are willing to sacrifice the most basic principles for their political ambitions.

Furthermore, the manipulation of institutions and the use of legal tricks to obtain impunity demonstrate a startling lack of respect for democracy and the will of the Spanish people. Allowing Puigdemont to return as a candidate and potential president would legitimize an affront to legality and institutional integrity, endangering the stability of Catalonia and all of Spain.

Moreover, the possibility of Puigdemont being a candidate and eventually elected as President of the Generalitat raises serious concerns about the future of Catalonia.

It is time for Catalan citizens and political leaders throughout Spain to confront this threat to democracy and the rule of law that Puigdemont represents. Allowing him to return as a candidate and potential president would be a grave mistake that undermines the fundamental principles of our society. It is time to say no to the fugitive’s return, no to impunity, and yes to the defense of legality and democracy in Spain.