Cata­lan ex-leader says in­de­pen­dence not only so­lu­tion

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Cat­alo­nia’s de­posed pres­i­dent said he might con­sider a so­lu­tion to Spain’s po­lit­i­cal cri­sis that did not in­volve the re­gion’s se­ces­sion, ap­pear­ing to soften the staunchly pro-in­de­pen­dence stance that cost him his lead­er­ship last month.

In an in­ter­view with Bel­gian daily Le Soir, Car­les Puigde­mont was asked if a non-se­ces­sion­ist op­tion was on the ta­ble to re­solve a cri­sis trig­gered when Spain took over con­trol of the re­gion af­ter its par­lia­ment de­clared in­de­pen­dence on Oc­to­ber 27.

“I’m ready, and have al­ways been ready, to ac­cept the re­al­ity of an­other re­la­tion­ship with Spain... It [an­other so­lu­tion] is still pos­si­ble,” Puigde­mont said.

“I have, be­ing pro-in­de­pen­dence all my life, worked for 30 years to have an­other way of Cat­alo­nia be­ing an­chored to Spain,” he added, giv­ing no de­tails of what form such a re­la­tion­ship could take.

The for­mer Cata­lan leader is in self-im­posed ex­ile in Bel­gium af­ter run­ning an in­de­pen­dence cam­paign that prompted au­thor­i­ties in Madrid to fire his cabi­net, dis­solve the re­gional par­lia­ment and call new elec­tions for De­cem­ber.

Puigde­mont, who had pre­vi­ously in­sisted the in­de­pen­dence dec­la­ra­tion should form the ba­sis of any po­lit­i­cal ne­go­ti­a­tions with Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy, is un­der con­di­tional re­lease af­ter an in­ter­na­tional ar­rest war­rant was served against him.

He and four other for­mer mem­bers of the Cata­lan gov­ern­ment with him in Bel­gium face charges of re­bel­lion and sedi­tion.

Ra­joy has said he was open to talks with Cata­lan lead­ers on a so­lu­tion to Spain’s po­lit­i­cal cri­sis, but would only do so within a le­gal frame­work, calling for the in­de­pen­dence drive to be dropped as a con­di­tion.

The Span­ish gov­ern­ment has called re­gional elec­tions for De­cem­ber 21, and Puigde­mont’s PDeCAT has failed to agree on a united ticket with other se­ces­sion­ist party, the ERC, dent­ing the pro-in­de­pen­dence camp’s hopes of unit­ing be­hind the se­ces­sion­ist cause.

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