Monday, 09 January 2017

Puigdemont won’t stand for president in next Catalan elections

CNA

Barcelona (CNA).- “In a year from now I won’t be President”, stated Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, in a radio interview. Thus, he reaffirmed the Government’s plan to launch an 18-month long term of office, which started last January with Puigdemont’s investiture and which will expire this summer. “We committed to calling elections six months after the referendum at the most and my task finishes with this purpose, I don’t have any vocation to be a candidate for the presidency”, he assured. Puigdemont emphasised his wish for Catalonia to become an independent state but insisted that if the Catalan citizens decide on a different way it will be “a new era which will require new mechanisms and new leaders”. Puigdemont’s party, Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT), refused to open a debate on who will be the party’s candidate in the next elections. 

“The scenario, the commitment I took and the task I am entrusted with is to culminate the period which goes from Catalonia’s post-autonomy to pre-independence and it finishes there”, explained Puigdemont in an interview with Radio Barcelona. “What I want to come afterwards is a new state”, he added. “If the Catalan citizens decide on a different way it will require new mechanisms and new leaders”, he concluded. 

During the interview, the Catalan President also insisted on his commitment to call a referendum on Catalonia’s independence in September 2017. “It will have an effect as long as people make it their own, if the majority of the citizens consider this instrument to be valid and decide to participate”. Thus, he emphasised that the turnout will be crucial for the referendum to have “credibility”.

PDeCAT call for “stopping” the debate about candidates

Puigdemont’s party, former ‘Convergència’ now renamed as Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) called for “stopping” the debate on who will be PDeCat’s alternative to Puigdemont. “We will make the pertinent decision when we consider it necessary, with maximum unity and loyalty to our project”, PDeCat’s general coordinator, Marta Pascal, stated this Monday.

According to Pascal, Puigdemont’s decision to rule out standing again for Catalan President is nothing but “coherent”. “He didn’t say anything differently to what he said when he was invested”, she said and added that Puigdemont has “a strong commitment to call a referendum and comply with the 27-S electoral mandate”. However, Pascal insisted that Puigdemont’s decision “doesn’t mean that he will no longer play a key role within the party”. At a press conference this Monday, Pascal wanted to make clear that PDeCAT “totally respects” Puigdemont’s decision, which proves that he “puts the country before his own interest” and reinforces his “exceptional” leadership.

Earlier this Monday, PDeCAT’s vice president and Government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, stated in an interview that former Catalan President, Artur Mas, would be a “good” candidate. “He is a great asset which is still in force”, she said. However, Munté also called for people “not to be distracted” and insisted that the priority now is to hold a referendum in September.

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  • Close-up of the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont (by ACN)