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Carles Puigdemont plans to run for Catalan presidency 7 years after fleeing Spain

Carles Puigdemont plans to run for Catalan presidency 7 years after fleeing Spain

Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia, declared his plans this Thursday to run for the leadership of Catalonia's government, seven years after he left Spain following the unilateral declaration of Catalonia's independence in 2017.

During a gathering at the Elna town hall in southern France, alongside his party's leadership, Puigdemont announced his plan to lead the Junts Per Catalonia party in the upcoming May 12 elections.

Puigdemont fled Spain in October 2017, concealing himself in a car's trunk, following the suspension of Catalonia's autonomy and the dismissal of its government by Mariano Rajoy's conservative administration, invoking article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. Since escaping, the former president has lived in self-imposed exile in Belgium, evading an arrest warrant issued for his role in the push for independence.

It will not be the first time Puigdemont has sought election in Catalonia since fleeing to Belgium. He led his party's list in both the 2017 and 2021 elections without returning to Spain for the campaigns or to claim his regional deputy certificate, as claiming his seat required his presence.

However, this time around, Puigdemont's lawyer, Gonzalo Boyé, has stated the ex-president plans to return to Spain, even at the risk of arrest. Puigdemont's circle believes that should he be detained, an impending amnesty could see him released quickly, allowing him to participate in the swearing-in ceremony without facing any charges.