Reactions across the political spectrum to Puigdemont’s insistence in Le Figaro that he will not comply if Constitutional Court bars him from office
Le Figaro ACN | Brussels and Catalan News 24th July
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has told a French newspaper that he will not accept being suspended from office by Spain’s Constitutional Court (TC). Talking to Le Figaro newspaper, Puigdemont said: “If the TC bars me from office, as it can do, I will not accept the decision. Only the Catalan Parliament can suspend me.”
The article by journalist Mathieu de Taillac points out that while “the Catalan Parliament and the Catalan Government are designing the outlines of a rebellion against Spanish legislation… the Spanish government is pressing public servants to take no part in organizing the referendum and promises to prevent the vote by all legal means.”
In the interview, Puigdemont insists that “no threat will stop the Catalans from deciding their future in a democratic way.” It was a message reiterated later in the day by Puigdemont’s party, PDeCAT, which in a news conference insisted that suspending Puigdemont “will not stop the will of the Catalans” to vote and decide their future.
The party spokesman in the Spanish congress, Carles Campuzano, and the coordinator of its representatives in Madrid, Jordi Xuclà, made it clear that if the State suspends Puigdemont it will be committing a “very serious mistake”. Yet, the head of the Catalan wing of the People’s Party (PP), Xavier García Albiol, reacted to Puigdemont’s statements with irony, saying that his “dream” of independence will come to an end when the president “falls out of bed and wakes up.” Albiol added that “his dream is causing a lot of annoyance among Catalans.”
The Spanish government also reacted to the president’s insistence that the referendum will go ahead in the face of state opposition. Spanish Vice President and government spokesperson Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría warned Puigdemont that “any preparatory action” for the referendum on October 1 “will receive the corresponding answer.” Santamaría pointed out that on February 14 the TC prohibited any preparations for the referendum, which she called “illegal in nature and generating so much division in Catalonia.” The spokeswoman reiterated her government’s intention to check the Catalan executive’s accounts on a weekly basis to ensure that no public money goes towards the sovereignty vote.
“Randomness and chaos”
Meanwhile, speaking for Spain’s ruling People’s Party, coordinator Fernando Martínez-Maillo responded to the Catalan president’s statements, saying: “Mr Puigdemont can say whatever he likes, but he will have to do what the law says.” The PP coordinator also called on the PSOE socialist party to go “further than the simple rejection of the unilateral and illegal referendum and give its support to the Spanish government” in ensuring that no public money is devoted to the vote.
However, the secretary of the PSC Catalan socialists, Salvador Illa, limited himself to warning president Puigdemont that outside of the law there is “only randomness and chaos” and he reminded him that everyone is “obliged” to respect the law and “in particular” elected officials and the president.