Catalan president in exile Carles Puigdemont has made it clear that he cannot and will not be the Together for Catalonia (JxCat) party's effective candidate for the presidency of Catalonia in February's elections, but with the same forcefulness, he asserts that he intends to be part of the candidate list and that he will lead the electoral project. In order for this to be reflected in the candidature, JxCat sees it likely that Puidgemont, party president, will head the list for the Barcelona constituency - a position usually occupied by the person who is presidential candidate of each party. In fact, this is the approach being worked on right now in the pro-independence party's leadership.
JxCat has launched primaries in order to choose its candidate for the Catalan presidency and after that, in a second round of primaries, it will choose the names to occupy the lead positions in the four Catalan constituencies, which correspond to the provinces of Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida and Girona. However, the rules of this vote are drafted in such a way as to allow the number one spot in Barcelona to be reserved for Puigdemont, according to party sources.
According to article 13 of party regulations for the primaries, "the people who are to occupy the first three places for the constituencies of Lleida and Tarragona and the first four positions for Girona will be selected. In the case of Barcelona, eight people will be chosen with the same criteria for the positions immediately following the position to be held by the JxCat candidate for the presidency of the Generalitat of Catalonia".
According to party sources, this wording makes it possible that, if JxCat wishes, it could place Puigdemont in the number one position for Barcelona, and in second position on the list, place the person who wins the primaries as presidential candidate, while the eight names chosen directly by members in the second primary would be listed from position 3 to 11 of the candidature.
First in Girona, or last on a list
Another possibility would be for Puigdemont to run in the elections as lead name on the candidacy for Girona, after taking part in primaries, but this alternative has lost favour at JxCat headquarters. In the same way, the possibility of Puigdemont appearing in the primaries for the Barcelona list is not contemplated.
The last possibility would be that for the president in exile to occupy the last place on the list, which usually has an honorary character, and which is reserved for the party executive to decide, according to the regulations.
The party's wish is to make clear Puigdemont's leadership role, despite the judicial persecution that keeps him in exile and prevents him from assuming the presidency. JxCat also has no intention of repeating the formula from the last elections in 2017, when Puidgemont ran in the role of presidential candidate in the elections, but ultimately could not be invested.
However, party president Puigdemont maintained the suspense over whether he would take part in the primaries, until yesterday - a few hours before the deadline for the submission of presidential candidates - when he announced he would not run for office but would participate in the nominations “to lead and finish the job”.
Puigdement's decision cleared the way for a race between two JxCat candidates to be the party's effective candidate for president: the party's Spanish Congress spokesperson Laura Borràs, and enterprise minister Damià Calvet. The campaign will begin next Monday and run for 13 days, until voting on the weekend of November 28th and 29th.