Another surprise from a political figure who has acquired something of an international reputation for them: exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is to stand as a candidate to the European Parliament in the May 26th elections. While other exiled or jailed pro-independence leaders of Catalonia will also be running in the various elections in Catalonia this spring, it was the unexpected announcement that Puigdemont will head the JxCat (Together for Catalonia) candidacy for a place in the European chamber which generated an international media impact:
The New York Times
US newspaper The New York Times explains the Catalan president's decision in exile recalling Puigdemont's own words: "It's time to take another step to internationalize Catalonia's right to self-determination from the heart of Europe."
French television channel Franceinfo highlights the reasons given by Catalan government minister Elsa Artadi for Puigdemont's candidature: "We believe that the best way to continue to internationalize the conflict is by making Europe understand what is happening in Catalonia and this will be done with Puigdemont at the head of the candidacy".
News agency Reuters breaks the news by stating that Puigdemont is in exile and faces rebellion charges in Spain.
In addition, the agency notes that "it is not clear if Puigdemont could be sworn in as a member of the European Parliament if elected" and adds that "some Spanish media assure that Puigdemont would have to return to Spain to formally swear to the Central Electoral Board that he would comply with the Spanish Constitution as a European lawmaker".
The Associated Press news agency states that Puigdemont will run for the European elections even though the Spanish government considers him a "fugitive."
The French newspaper based in Perpignan, in Northern Catalonia, tells its readers the news about the JxCat party's European list, and also recalls Puigdemont's recent planned conference at the European Parliament which the authorities suspended.
The Euronews television network not only reports on the Puigdemont candidature, but also the Catalan political prisoners who are leading the lists of Catalan parties in the Spanish general election on April 28th: Jordi Sànchez (Barcelona), Jordi Turull (Lleida) and Josep Rull ( Tarragona).
Exiled ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to run in EU elections https://t.co/KH4taqtMag— APPG on Catalonia (@APPGCatalonia) 10 de març de 2019
Belgian newspaper Le Soir also publishes the news of the selection of the exiled president as party list leader. The newspaper reminds its readers how Puigdemont came to be in exile: "After organizing the referendum on October 1st prohibited by justice, the pro-independence parties proclaimed Catalonia's independence, unleashing the biggest political crisis in Spain since the Franco era".
The Washington Post
The US capital's leading daily The Washington Post notes that it is not the first time that the exiled leader has stood in elections from exile: "...he tried to get back in office as Catalan president at the end of 2017 (in the Catalan elections) but the Spanish courts banned the move," says the newspaper.