Spain has told Catalonia’s ousted president he isn’t allowed to rule the region via Skype

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont in Brussels in January 2018.

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Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont in Brussels in January 2018.
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Thomson Reuters

  • Carles Puigdemont is not allowed to rule Catalonia from abroad, Spain has said.
  • Puigdemont supporters floated the idea of him running the regional government in exile from Brussels via video-link technology like Skype.
  • Madrid is currently using emergency powers to run Catalonia and is due to hand control back soon, possibly to Puigdemont.
  • But Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, said they would not give control back to somebody located abroad .

Catalonia’s ousted leader is not allowed to rule the region via video-link from his self-imposed exile in Brussels, Spain has said.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government would keep control of the region if Carles Puigdemont does not return to Spain to govern Catalonia, Agence France-Presse reported on Monday.

Puigdemont was sacked as Catalonia’s president last October after the region declared independence from Spain. He fled to Brussels shortly after, where he remains in self-imposed exile.

Last week Puigdemont supporters raised the possibility of his taking power again while still physically in Brussels.

Sources cited in a news story by the Financial Times indicated he was “planning to preside over the region from afar, potentially via video calls.”

Catalonia’s separatist parties won a slim majority in snap regional elections last month in what was seen as a setback to the Spanish government.

People in Barcelona watch Puigdemont on TV during December's regional elections.

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People in Barcelona watch Puigdemont on TV during December’s regional elections.
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Albert Gea/Reuters

Catalan separatist politicians said last week that it would try to re-elect Puigdemont as regional leader, prompting speculation that Puigdemont would try to govern Catalonia via video chat, Reuters reported.

Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said, according to Reuters: “Parliamentary rules are very clear. They do not contemplate the possibility of a (parliamentary) presence that is not in person.

“This aspiration is a fallacy, it’s totally unrealistic and it goes against the rule books and common sense.”

Puigdemont could be arrested if he returns to Spain, where he faces possible charges of sedition, rebellion, and embezzlement in relation, the Financial Times reported.

Three of Puigdemont’s allies, including former Vice President Oriol Junqueras, are currently in prison in Spain facing similar charges.

Puigdemont tweeted, from Brussels, that they were “no longer political prisoners; they are hostages.”