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Ex-Catalan premier refuses to accept removal from role by central government

Speaking via a recorded message broadcast on regional channel TV-3, Carles Puigdemont calls on citizens to put up “democratic opposition” to Article 155

Ex-regional premier Carles Puigdemont during his recorded message today.
Ex-regional premier Carles Puigdemont during his recorded message today. EFE

Via a video message broadcast at midday on Saturday, former Catalan regional premier Carles Puigdemont made it clear that he was not accepting the fact that the central government in Madrid has removed him from his role after invoking Article 155, a clause of the Constitution that allows for the suspension of powers in an autonomous region.

In a recorded video message lasting around three minutes, and which was broadcast on public regional channel TV-3, Puigdemont called on Catalans to put up “democratic opposition” to Article 155.

Puigdemont called on Catalans to put up “democratic opposition” to Article 155

After a vote in the Senate in Madrid on Friday, the article was invoked for the first time in Spain’s democratic history, in response to a unilateral declaration of independence that was voted on by pro-independence parties in the Catalan parliament. The vote was based on the supposed “mandate” Puigdemont and his partners believe that they have after an illegal referendum on independence in the northeastern Spanish region on October 1, which was held with no democratic guarantees and only counted on the participation of around 38% of the electorate.

In the recording, Puigdemont did not announce any concrete measures, but urged Catalans to “continue to persevere without violence, without insults, in an inclusive manner and respecting people and symbols and also Catalans who are not in agreement with the parliamentary majority.”

The recording was made in Girona, where he lives, with the Catalan and European Union flags in the background. He spent a lot of the speech denying that the measures approved by the Senate were legitimate and made a number of calls for calm and civic behavior.

He failed to clarify how his former government members – all of whom have been removed from their positions by Madrid – will move forward.

He failed to clarify how his former government members will move forward.

“We need to have patience, perseverance and perspective,” he said. “That is why we are clear that the best way of defending the conquests achieved until today is democratic opposition to the application of Article 155, which is the consummation of a pre-meditated assault on the will of the Catalan people, who, in a majority fashion and over many years, do feel that we are a nation of Europe.”

Puigdemont added: “We have to do this safeguarding ourselves from repression and threats, do it without ever, ever, at any time, deviating from civic and peaceful behavior. We don’t have nor do we want the justification of force. Not us. I call on you for this convinced that this demand is what the whole world expects, also outside of our country.”

As for the invocation of Article 155, Puigdemont said that “these are decisions that are contrary to the will expressed by the citizens at the polls.”

English version by Simon Hunter.

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