Spain has ruled out the possibility of Catalonia’s former leader Carles Puigdemont becoming the Spanish region’s president again.
Catalonia’s majority pro-independence lawmakers on Wednesday elected a nationalist speaker, paving the way to reinstate Puigdemont, who was sacked by Madrid as president on October 27, 2017, after the region declared unilateral independence.
“He won’t be president,” said Spanish Minister of Education, Culture and Sports and Government spokesperson Inigo Mendez de Vigo. He gave an interview to Reuters on Friday.
Mendez de Vigo said if the Catalan parliament votes for Puigdemont as a candidate for president, Madrid would continue to directly rule the region according to Article 155 of Spain’s constitution.
In the meantime, Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium after being sacked, said on Friday that he can remotely control the region from Brussels.
Asked if Puigdemont, who is facing imprisonment in Spain if he returns home for his role in the region’s independence bid, could be elected as Catalonia’s president, Mendez de Vigo reiterated, “It won’t happen. The only legitimacy is that of article 155.”
Mendez de Vigo warned that if the Catalan parliament fails to find someone other than Puigdemont, there would be new regional elections.
“This is not what we want but that’s what will happen if they (nationalists) act outside the law.”