Will stay put in Brussels: Catalonia’s deposed separatist leader Carles Puigdemont
Catalonia’s deposed separatist leader Carles Puigdemont said on Tuesday that he would stay put in Brussels after being dismissed by the Spanish government, but denied he would seek asylum to avoid possible rebellion charges.
“I am not here in order to demand asylum,” Puigdemont, sacked by the Spanish government on Friday after Catalonia’s parliament declared independence, told a packed news conference in Brussels.
He said he was in Belgium “for safety purposes and freedom”, without detailing how long he would stay.
After being axed, the 54-year-old reportedly drove hundreds of kilometres from Catalonia to Marseille in southern France with several members of his dismissed cabinet and then flew to Belgium.
His departure is the latest twist in the saga over semi- autonomous Catalonia’s drive for independence that has presented Spain with its biggest political crisis in decades.
On October 1, Catalonia held a referendum organised by Puigdemont’s administration which it said saw a large majority vote in favour of seceding from Spain, although turnout was just 43 per cent.
Puigdemont said this gave the Catalan parliament a mandate to declare independence on Friday, a decision beamed onto big screens to cheering crowds in regional capital Barcelona.
But the same day Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government in …read more