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Puigdemont confirms that he wants to stand in Catalonia election

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Separatist leader Carles Puigdemont, who fled into exile in 2017, confirmed that he wants to run as the top candidate of his Junts party in the early regional elections in Catalonia on May 12.

“I have decided to run for the Catalan parliament in the next election,” he told party members in the small town of Elne in southern France on Thursday evening, not far from the border with his homeland.

“The most important goal we have set ourselves is to make the independence process a success,” Puigdemont asserted.

The 61-year-old faces being arrested in Spain for his role in the illegal 2017 independence referendum and the region’s attempted secession from Spain.

However, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had agreed to an amnesty with the separatists in order to secure his re-election last autumn with their votes.

Puigdemont’s lawyer Gonzalo Boye had therefore already announced that his client would return to Spain. The 61-year-old has said he will accept that he will be arrested upon entry.

Because of the parliamentary deliberations, the amnesty could only come into force after the election, which regional government leader Pere Aragonès from the left-wing separatist party ERC surprisingly brought forward after his budget failed in parliament in Barcelona.

In Spain, the prospect that Puigdemont could win the election and once again push for a breakaway from the economically strong region in the north-east of the country has sparked great concern.

In addition, the prime minister’s minority government is dependent on the votes of the separatists.

Catalonia is still suffering from the consequences of the chaotic 2017 separation attempt. The aftereffects include political instability as well as corporate and capital flight.

Former President of the Catalonia Government and Junts MEP Carles Puigdemont speaks during a press conference, in Mairie d'Elne "Elna Town Hall". Puigdemont has announced that he will be the Junts candidate for the elections to the Catalan Parliament on May 12. Glòria Sánchez/EUROPA PRESS/dpa

Former President of the Catalonia Government and Junts MEP Carles Puigdemont speaks during a press conference, in Mairie d’Elne “Elna Town Hall”. Puigdemont has announced that he will be the Junts candidate for the elections to the Catalan Parliament on May 12. Glòria Sánchez/EUROPA PRESS/dpa

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