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The president in exile of Catalonia and European parliamentarian, Carles Puigdemont, has been chosen among the most influential people of the year by the publication 'Politico', one of the most read and influential publications in the European Union. Specifically, the Catalan politician is placed as Number 2 in the category of "Disruptors", and the news magazine sums up his role with its headline: "The revolutionary". The publication argues that his influence on Spanish politics after the results of the state's July 23rd general election, in which the seven seats won by his party Together for Catalonia (Junts) became the key to a new government being formed by the Socialist (PSOE) leader, Pedro Sánchez. In fact, Politico defines the Catalan president as "exiled" and explains how he conditioned his support for Sánchez on an amnesty for those facing legal prosecution over the Catalan independence process.

"Six years after holding an illegal secession referendum, Carles Puigdemont has established himself as kingmaker and earthshaker of Spanish politics. After an inconclusive national election last July left Socialist prime minister Pedro Sánchez desperate for support from a hodgepodge of minor parties, the exiled Catalan found himself holding the key votes the PM needed to retain power," explains 'Politico'.

The exile

The European publication explains that Puigdemont has spent the last few years living in exile in the Belgian town of Waterloo and how he has commuted for his "day job" as a member of the European Parliament. "Spanish prosecutors have been seeking his arrest since the failed 2017 independence referendum attempt and this summer a top EU court stripped him of the immunity afforded to MEPs", narrates 'Politico'. In fact, they say that, "given those circumstances", "it is not surprising that Puigdemont conditioned his support for Sánchez on a general amnesty".

Puigdemont and the motion of no confidence in Rajoy

Likewise, the magazine also recalls the role of the president in exile in the motion of no-confidence in 2018 which previously changed the direction of Spanish politics: displacing the then-PM, Mariano Rajoy, in 2018. The profile explains how Puigdemont "united with other secessionist parties", such as Catalan Republican Left and the Basque Nationalists. At the same time, it sends a warning to Pedro Sánchez: "he remains crucial for the foreseeable future, because without the support of Junts's seven MPs, Spain's new minority government will struggle to pass any bills in the country's hyper-fractured parliament."

Likewise, Politico leaves in the air the question of whether he will have the capacity to promote a new referendum on self-determination for Catalonia, "this time with Madrid's approval". In any case, 'Político' highlights his "outsize influence on Spanish politics".