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Carles Puigdemont, during the appearance this Thursday evening in which he announced his candidacy. EFE
Carles Puigdemont of separatist party Junts will stand in May’s Catalan elections
Catalan elections 2024

Carles Puigdemont of separatist party Junts will stand in May’s Catalan elections

The self-exiled politician is still wanted in Spain over the illegal independence referendum in 2017

Cristian Reino / Paula de las Heras

Elna (France) / Madrid (Spain)

Thursday, 21 March 2024, 21:14

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The leader of Catalan separatist party Junts, Carles Puigdemont, is to stand for regional president in the Catalan elections in May.

The announcement was made by Puigdemont in an eagerly awaited meeting in Elna in southern France, close to the border with Spain, this Thursday evening (21 March). Self-exiled Puigdemont is still wanted in Spain over the illegal independence referendum in 2017 although an amnesty of those involved, driven by the Socialist party, is currently going through Spain’s parliament.

Speaking to the some 1,000 people present including the media, Puigdemont said the elections would be to “choose between those who want to sink Catalonia” and those who “want to finish the job so that Catalonia can be recognised as another nation”.

The Spanish Prime Minister and leader of the PSOE-Socialists, Pedro Sánchez, dismissed the possible candidacy of Puigdemont earlier on Thursday. He said Puigdemont “was a candidate in 2021 and 2017. There is nothing new in that”.

An opinion poll published by the Catalan government this Thursday showed Sánchez’s Socialists, under regional leader Salvador Illa - the former national Health minister during Covid - are favourites to win on 12 May. The left-wing ERCrepublican party are lagging behind and Junts under Puigdemont would be in third place.

This week, the leader of ERC, Pere Aragonès, who is the current Catalan president, launched his party’s drive for all taxation income to be collected directly by the Catalan regional government and part given back to Spain, rather than the Spanish state collecting and redistributing it.

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