Catalan crisis: Leader cancels address amid reports he will call snap elections

Leader’s wife has reportedly left the country with their two children

With the Spanish Senate set to vote on the Article 155 measures tomorrow, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was expected to dissolve the Catalan Parliament today and call for snap elections on December 20.

The leader, however, postponed the announcement last minute and gave no explanation for the delay. There have been media reports that his wife has left the country with their two children and returned to her native Romania after their police guard was axed. 

Read related story: Spain needs to remember its rise from the ashes of civil war to solve Catalan crisis

‘It’s odd because since Carles Puigdemont has been president, the Mossos [regional police] have been keeping watch on the neighbourhood 24 hours a day. Now they’re not around,’ their neighbour told media.

The wife of Puigdemont, Marcela Topor, is the editor of an English-language magazine and website based in Girona, which the couple launched in 2004 before Puigdemont left journalism to enter politics.

With today’s announcement, the Catalan leader had aimed to break the deadlock between the Madrid government and separatists seeking a split from Spain as he believes that the Spanish government “would create an even more serious, extraordinary situation by seizing Catalonia’s political autonomy”.

Puigdemont was supposed to make a televised adress today to convince the government of Mariano Rajoy not to enforce direct rule in the region.

The ongoining tussle is Spain’s worst political crisis since the end of the military dictatorship of Franco in 1975. Thousands of protesters had gathered today in central Barcelona to protest plans by the Spanish government to assume control of some of the Catalonia region’s affairs.

 

 


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