Carles Puigdemont says he is eyeing a return to Spain. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)


Puigdemont says he would return to Spain after snap elections


Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont aims a return to Spain from Belgium in the next few months.

The MEP and former president of the Catalonia region confirmed on March 21 his intention to run again for the regional presidency.

Puigdemont launched his campaign from France. He promised to “finish the independence process that started in October of 2017.”

“We have not been defeated; we have a lot to be proud of,” he stated.

Still, the Catalan leader also said he would only return to his country if his party, Junts per Catalunya, secured enough votes in the Parlament de Catalunya to give him the presidency.

“I have decided to run in the upcoming Catalan Parliament elections,” said Puigdemont. “It is necessary to protect the institutions of our country above all other things.”

According to him, the controversial Amnesty Law for convicted Catalan separatists, which includes Puigdemont, is the acknowledgment of a “mistake that is leaving politics in the hands of judges and the police”.

Meanwhile, the Conservative party VOX announced it would introduce a motion to veto the law in Spain’s Senate.

Despite having only three Senators in the 264-member Chamber, VOX is set to be one of the leading voices against the Amnesty in the Upper House.

Its leader Santiago Abascal said the Amnesty bill for the convicted Catalans “humiliates all Spaniards and destroys the condition of equality before the Law”.

VOX national spokesman José Antonio Fuster insisted the Amnesty Law was “a frontal attack to the nation and all Spaniards”.

“No one should collaborate,” he urged.

VOX is pressuring the centre-right Partido Popular  (PP) over fears it might allow the Chamber to debate the bill, although People’s Party (PP) leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo said the Amnesty “would not pass the filter of the Senate.”

On its second attempt, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) in the past few days passed the Amnesty bill with the support of the leftist bloc and the Catalan, Basque and Galician separatist parties in Congress.

Congress adopted the bill in what was a tense political environment in Catalonia. Its regional president Pere Aragonès called for a snap election for May 12.

The Senate is Spain’s “territorial chamber”. While it does have veto power itself, the Congress can lift the Senate’s veto with an absolute majority.

VOX is deploying a series of legislative, judicial and political measures to prevent the Amnesty Law from moving forward.

Earlier in March, the 33 VOX MPs filed an appeal before the Spanish Supreme Court to try to stop to the Amnesty bill’s passage from Congress to Senate.

In Brussels, VOX has been lobbying MEPs with a report written by its think-tank Fundación Disenso. That includes a series of legal arguments against the Amnesty Law.