Spain to block Puigdemont as Catalan president

Puigdemont's Together for Catalonia party to file complaint against the move, saying he is a legitimate candidate.

    Puigdemont was nominated to resume his post as Catalan president on January 22 [Yves Herman/Reuters]
    Puigdemont was nominated to resume his post as Catalan president on January 22 [Yves Herman/Reuters]

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked the Constitutional Court to block the nomination of former Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont to resume his post on Friday.

    The move comes after the Spanish government's Council of Ministers, headed by Rajoy, announced late Thursday night that it will attempt to block the nomination.

    Puigdemont was president of Catalonia's regional government until October, when the parliament declared independence from Spain after a disputed October 1 referendum on secession.

    Spanish national police were mobilised to stop the vote and carried out a sometimes violent crackdown on voters, which rights groups called "excessive force".

    After a month of political brinksmanship between Spain and the breakaway region, the central government enacted Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, allowing it take control of Catalonia's government.

    Puigdemont and 12 of his ministers were sacked and charged with various crimes. His former vice president, Oriol Junqueras of the Catalan Republican Left, remains in prison.

    {articleGUID}

    Detractors of the Spanish government's actions in Spain and the European Union have called on Spain to return to normalcy and allow Puigdemont to head the government.

    Puigdemont fled to Brussels shortly after the former Catalan parliament declared independence.

    Spanish Vice President Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said at a news conference that Puigdemont "intends to put his own candidacy" above the law, but "respecting the law is the start of normalcy".

    Rajoy called snap regional elections for Catalonia in December after assuming control of the government. The prime minister said new elections would return stability to the region.

    Instead, a separatist bloc won an absolute majority.

    Roger Torrent, the speaker of the Catalan parliament who announced Puigdemont's nomination on January 22, said the former president's candidacy "meets all the legal requirements and has absolute legitimacy".

    Puigdemont's party, Together for Catalonia, has announced it plans to file a criminal complaint against the Spanish government's Council of Ministers.

    They allege the Spanish ministers are using intimidation to block a politician from exercising his duties.

    Spanish police have reportedly been on high alert on the northern border with France in anticipation of Puigdemont attempting to sneak back into Spain.

    The Catalan parliament is set to vote on the Catalan presidency by January 31.

     WATCH: Catalan separatists seek to resore exiled leader Puigdemont (2:25)

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?