Ex-Catalan chief ponders re-election, awaits phrase on arrest


MADRID (AP) — The ousted and absent chief of Spain’s Catalonia area, whereas ready to be taught if a Spanish decide would concern a global warrant for his arrest, mentioned Friday that he was ready to run for his previous job from Belgium, the place he’s in hiding.

Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont flew to Brussels this week after Spanish authorities eliminated him and his Cabinet from workplace for pushing the area’s secession. The Spanish authorities additionally referred to as an early election for Dec. 21.

Puigdemont informed Belgian state broadcaster RTBF on Friday — a day after the identical decide deliberating the arrest warrant jailed 9 former members of his separatist authorities — that he didn’t “flee” Spain and is “ready to be a candidate” within the early polls.

“We can run a campaign anywhere because we’re in a globalized world,” he informed RTBF.

If an arrest warrant is issued, Puigdemont will combat extradition to Spain with out in search of political asylum, in line with his Belgian lawyer.

Puigdemont informed the Belgian broadcaster he wished the December vote “to take place under the best possible conditions. It’s not with a government in prison that these elections are going to be neutral, independent, normal.”

He additionally mentioned he was not in Belgium to “Belgianize Catalan politics.”

“I did not flee, but it’s impossible to properly prepare” a authorized protection whereas in Spain, he mentioned, including that he had misplaced religion within the Spanish justice system.

If Belgium acts on a European warrant Spain and arrests him, Puigdemont must be introduced earlier than an investigating decide inside 24 hours. His extradition process would take 15 days, Belgian authorized specialists say. But ought to Puigdemont enchantment, that course of may take an extra 45 days, that means that he would most likely not depart Belgium earlier than early January, effectively after the elections.

Like his 9 former ministers who had been jailed, Puigdemont was as a consequence of seem at Spain’s National Court on Thursday to reply questions in a riot investigation. Spanish prosecutors wish to cost members of the dismissed regional authorities —in addition to six further members of the regional parliament— for selling official steps to declaring Catalonia’s independence.

Former Catalonia's regional chief for business Santi Vila talks to journalists as he leaves the Estremera prison in Madrid, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017.  The Spanish government declines to comment on the jailing of former Catalan cabinet members in an investigation related to their push for secession, and says that it respects and obeys decisions taken by the judges. (AP Photo)

Former Catalonia’s regional chief for enterprise Santi Vila talks to journalists as he leaves the Estremera jail in Madrid, Friday, Nov. three, 2017. The Spanish authorities declines to touch upon the jailing of former Catalan cupboard members in an investigation badociated to their push for secession, and says that it respects and obeys selections taken by the judges. (AP Photo)

Meanwhile, a panel of National Court judges on Friday rejected an enchantment in search of the discharge of two separatist activists who had been jailed final month in a separate sedition investigation.

A National Court spokesman mentioned that Assemblea Nacional Catalana president Jordi Sanchez and Omnium Cultural chief Jordi Cuixart will stay in a Madrid jail whereas the investigation continues. The spokesman spoke on situation of anonymity consistent with courtroom coverage.

Sanchez and Cuixart are being investigated for allegedly orchestrating protests that hindered a judicial investigation to halt preparations for a banned independence referendum held on Oct. 1.

Under Spain’s authorized system, investigating judges can have suspects detained whereas a complete probe, typically taking months, determines if they need to be charged.

Spanish authorities spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo deflected questions by the media concerning the jailing of the Catalan officers. The separation of powers meant that the federal government’s focus was on getting ready for the early election it referred to as for Catalonia, Mendez de Vigo mentioned.

“What the government guarantees is that there will be elections where the parties which want to run can present their programs, and we hope that the election can end this period of uncertainty and the deterioration of harmonious coexistence in Catalonia,” he mentioned.

One of the 9 jailed Catalan officers, ex-regional minister for enterprise Santi Vila, posted bail of 50,000 euros (about $58,000) and was launched from custody on Friday. His pbadport was confiscated and Vila wants to point out up in courtroom commonly because the riot, sedition and embezzlement probe continues.

The different eight had been held with out having bail set.

“I ask for all political parties across to Spain, appealing to their democratic values, to put an end to this terrible situation that has put politicians in prison,” Vila mentioned as he left the Estremera jail close to Madrid.

A man holds up an "esteladas", or Catalonia independence flag, in front of a Spanish national police officer outside the National Court in Madrid, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. A Spanish judge has ordered nine ex-members of the government in Catalonia jailed while they are investigated on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

A person holds up an “esteladas”, or Catalonia independence flag, in entrance of a Spanish nationwide police officer exterior the National Court in Madrid, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. A Spanish decide has ordered 9 ex-members of the federal government in Catalonia jailed whereas they’re investigated on attainable prices of sedition, riot and embezzlement. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Vila resigned in protest a day earlier than Catalonia’s parliament voted in favor of the independence declaration. He has mentioned he needs to steer the center-right separatist Democratic Party of Catalonia within the upcoming election on a average platform.

Puigdemont and his Cabinet had been eliminated by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy final week. Rajoy used extraordinary constitutional authority licensed by the Spain Senate to depose the separatists, dissolve the regional legislature and name the early regional election.

Spain’s Supreme Court can also be investigating six members of Catalonia’s parliament. The courtroom postponed a listening to Thursday till subsequent week to permit extra time for them to organize their defenses within the case.

In all, Spanish prosecutors are investigating 20 regional politicians for riot and different crimes that might be punishable by as much as 30 years in jail.


Cook reported from Brussels. Joseph Wilson in Barcelona contributed to this report.


Find full AP protection of Catalonia right here: https://apnews.com/tag/Spain

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