Catalan president Carles Puigdemont this Wednesday has criticised the attitude of Spanish king Felipe VI towards the Catalan independence process. "When the king says 'let's get them', he stops being a neutral head of state, he takes a side", said the president in an interview with Catalan newspaper El Punt Avui in Brussels, saying that his comments have "protected" this violence.
"It's clear that the king has disappointed many people", said Puigdemont, who added that, as an institutional figure, "he's lost all respect from the moment he formed part of the policy of the PP [Popular Party] of the FAES [think tank] and protects the 1st October violence [during the referendum]". "Have we stopped being Spanish citizens worthy of his representation?" asked Puigdemont.
On the subject of the 21st December election, the president noted that he had announced months ago he wouldn't stand again, but "I didn't think that this would happen". "We're in an exceptional situation", he said, "I didn't imagine that I'd be in Brussels".
As for the results of the election, Puigdemont said that "it's a democratic necessity that the [Spanish] state respects the results of the 21st December and allows possession to be taken of the Catalan government", after it was removed with the application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. He said that he doesn't imagine the next president or cabinet to be unable to take up their offices because they're in prison or Belgium. "I trust in going to take control in the Parliament after the election," he said.
Regarding his legal status, Puigdemont argued that "going to testify ending up in prison was quite possible. In Belgium, we still have an itinerary." He repeated that the decisions the ministers took, to go to Brussels or the court, were "personal and respectable", noting that he "has always been [there] in all legality and in the hands of the justice system".