1 Jul, 2024 @ 14:11
1 min read

Spain’s Supreme Court rejects amnesty for Carles Puigdemont: Arrest warrant remains for ex-President of Catalunya

May 12, 2024, Argeles Sur Mer, France: Former Catalan president and Junts per Catalunya pro-independence candidate CARLES PUIGDEMONT holds a speech during Catalonia's regional vote election night in Argeles Sur Mer (Argelers), France. (Credit Image: © Jordi Boixareu/ZUMA Press Wire)

SPAIN’S Supreme Court has ruled that the controversial amnesty law approved last month will not apply to Carles Puigdemont, the separatist leader and fugitive from Spanish justice who has lived in self-imposed exile since 2017.

In a crushing blow to Puigdemont’s hopes of returning as President of Catalunya, the highest court in Spain has rejected amnesty for the crime of misusing public funds, meaning an arrest warrant for the Junts leader remains in force.

The ruling will also impact former ministers Antonio Comin and Lluis Puig who, like Puigdemont, fled to Belgium after criminal proceedings were opened over their role in the Catalan independence movement.

The separatist movement, known in Spain as the ‘process’, infamously reached its nadir in 2017 with an illegal referendum and a unilateral declaration of independence.

Last month, Spain’s Congress formally approved a highly contentious amnesty law which sought to withdraw legal action brought against Catalan nationalists for their role in the fiasco.

The conservative, pro-independence Junts party, of which Puigdemont is leader, and left-wing Esquerra (ERC) had demanded the law in exchange for giving Pedro Sanchez, the Prime Minister, the parliamentary support required to command a majority in Congress.

Puigdemont was expected to be the law’s highest profile beneficiary and had been planning to return to Catalunya to participate in the regional parliament’s investiture vote following May’s inconclusive local elections.

READ MORE: Catalan parliament supports motion allowing exiled MPs to vote remotely – in huge boost for separatist leader Carles Puigdemont

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has lived in self-imposed exile in Belgium since 2017. Credit: Cordon Press

However, his plans will likely have to change with a warrant for his arrest still in force.

Puigdemont is one of two candidates, alongside Socialist leader Salvador Illa, vying to become regional president.

The pair are the leading candidates of the two parties who won the most seats in the vote – Puigdemont’s separatist Junts party won 35 seats, whilst Illa’s PSC Socialists, the Catalan branch of PM Sanchez’s ruling PSOE party, won 42 seats.

However, both parties fell well short of the 68 seats required to command a working majority within the regional chamber, known as the Generalitat, prompting an intense summer of negotiations with other parties.

Puigdemont believes he could return to the role he held until being dismissed in 2017 via a coalition of support from pro-independence parties and forcing the abstention of the PSC by threatening to remove his party’s support for Sanchez in Congress.

Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to ben@theolivepress.es

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