Puigdemont put forward to lead Catalonia

The two major independence parties in Catalonia have agreed on a regional government to be led by Carles Puigdemont, who was removed from office in October and faces prison if he returns to Spain. His investiture is to take place via video conference. Is this a real solution or will it only add further fuel to the fire?

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taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Madrid must respect the constitution

By sticking to the course of Puigdemont's criminal prosecution the government in Madrid is showing itself up as a bad loser, taz writes:

“The pro-independence camp won the election and therefore a renewed absolute majority in the autonomous parliament. Keeping politicians in custody because of the danger that they might 'repeat' non-existent offences is a political manoeuvre intended to undermine the result of democratic elections. What is happening here deserves only one name: political persecution. Puigdemont has - like all the other exiles and politicians in custody - the constitutional right to be a parliamentarian and to run for office as long as he hasn't been convicted. Madrid must grant these rights.”

El País (ES) /

Separatists' circus goes on

For El País, by contrast, the announcement that Puigdemont will be invested via videolink is a trick of the separatists:

“Given the lack of constructive proposals for forming a government Puigdemont and his followers are opting to heighten the tensions under the probably mistaken assumption that the world will turn against the oppressive Spanish state, outraged by its refusal to allow a democratically elected president to set foot in his own territory. ... But no matter how you look at it, an investiture via videolink or via a proxy president contravenes both the law and common sense. It would bring discredit not on the state trying to impede it but on the politicians who aren't afraid to turn Catalonia into a huge circus. It would be laughable if so much wasn't at stake here.”

Finanz und Wirtschaft (CH) /

Conflict hurts the fragile economy

In the Catalonia conflict both sides urgently need to reach a compromise to avoid endangering the economic upswing of recent years, writes Finanz und Wirtschaft:

“The price of the lengthy financial and economic crisis was enormous, first economically, then socially and also politically, with the classic established parties being called into question, and finally in territorial terms, as the unresolved conflict in Catalonia demonstrates. Today Catalonia is the Achilles' heel of Spanish democracy. The combined powers of all the political participants will be necessary to calm the situation and pave the way for a fresh start, to reconcile Catalan society and maintain economic prosperity in this region and avoid jeopardising the good prospects of all Spain. A Herculean task.”