MADRID (Sputnik) – The Spanish authorities are set to appeal the nomination of Carles Puigdemont, who is currently residing in Belgium, as a candidate for president of Catalonia, to the country’s Constitutional Court, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Thursday.
“Puigdemont’s status does not allow him to attend a [parliamentary] session [to discuss potential candidates for Catalan president] as he is wanted. Once he is on the Spanish territory, he must be arrested,” de Santamaria told a press conference.
According to de Santamaria, the Spanish authorities requested the State Council’s opinion regarding the former Catalan leader’s nomination as they consider it “non-compliant with the law.”
The deputy prime minister expressed hope that Torrent would implement the decision of the Constitutional Court “in any case.”
“The Spanish government uses all legal means to ensure compliance with the law so that deputies’ rights are respected,” de Santamaria said.
On Monday, Catalan Parliament speaker Roger Torrent said he would propose nominating Puigdemont as a candidate for the regional government’s leadership.
The Catalan parliament is expected to hold a vote to approve the region’s new leader on January 31.
Following the Catalan independence referendum and the adoption of a resolution on the region’s independence from Spain in October, the Spanish parliament’s upper house voted to invoke Article 155, introducing direct rule by Madrid over Catalonia.
Rajoy then dismissed the Catalan government and its head, and called a snap parliamentary election that took place on December 21, with the region’s pro-independence bloc winning an absolute majority in the parliament. Puigdemont is facing arrest over charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds given his role in Catalonia’s independence referendum, which was declared illegal by Madrid.