Today is the deadline for candidates to register for Catalonia’s December 21 snap elections. Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has announced that he will stand.
Puigdemont fled to Belgium after leading the October 1 Catalan independence referendum, and Spanish authorities have issued warrants calling for his arrest on charges of “rebellion”. In the aftermath of sometimes violent confrontations between Spanish police and pro-independence activists at polling stations, Madrid invoked Article 155 of the Spanish constitution to dissolve the Catalan parliament and assert direct control over the region.
Although they are not yet extraditing him, the Belgian government has required Puigdemont to stay in the country, making the logistics of his leading a campaign extremely difficult.
Expect a poor showing from Puigdemont’s pro-independence coalition in the new elections. Pre-referendum opinion poll showed a slim majority of Catalans preferring Spanish unity, and the instability of the past month has potentially disillusioned many supporters of independence.
Delve deeper: The Catalan independence vote: statehood or autonomy?
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