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A new D-day in Catalonia Tuesday around Puigdemont

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU – | Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont in Girona, Spain, September 30, 2017

Catalonia and Spain will live on Tuesday a new day of political tension as Catalan separatists maintain their plans to invest in the Carles Puigdemont presidency after a debate banned by justice that must begin in the after -midday.

The president dismissed by Madrid is the only candidate for the leadership of this region of 7.5 million inhabitants. The Catalan Parliament is to debate its candidacy from 15:00 (14:00 GMT), under high security.

Meanwhile, his supporters will demonstrate around the room, invited to wear masks in the effigy of their leader, so that hundreds or even thousands of “Puigdemont” will march in the city.

It is unclear whether the real Puigdemont will be among them or whether he will make a surprise appearance before the elected officials, at the risk of being arrested for “rebellion” after three months of voluntary exile in Belgium.

This session comes after a judgment of the Constitutional Court on Saturday, seized by the central government, which in principle banned its holding.

The judges of the Constitutional Court, acting in an emergency, imposed measures regulating the session: they announced that in case of remote investiture, the vote would not be valid.

Secondly, they considered that Mr Puigdemont had to ask in person before the judge of the Supreme Court in charge of the inquiry concerning his authorization to appear before the Chamber.

All while in principle the parliament must meet a legal deadline ending Wednesday for a session of investiture.

Ⓒ AFP – Cecilia SANCHEZ – | Catalan parliament dominated by separatists

Parliament’s breakaway speaker Roger Torrent has held the session for the time being.

And Carles Puigdemont challenged the judgment in question before the Constitutional Court. The Court will consider this appeal from 13.00 (12.00 GMT).

The meeting comes three months after the unilateral declaration of independence voted in parliament on 27 October, the culmination of an unprecedented political crisis in Spain, which opened with the organization of a referendum on self-determination banned October 1st, marked by police violence.

After the attempted secession, the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy suspended the autonomy of the region, dissolved the parliament and called new elections, with the hope of a calming of the situation in Catalonia, divided almost equally on independence.

But in these elections the separatists have not lost ground: they represent 47.5% of the electorate, which allows them to have the absolute majority in the parliament, thanks to a weighting of the votes which benefits the rural provinces , the most separatists.

– No dialogue –

The street calmed down after a month of October shaken by the protests and the relocation of head office out of Catalonia from thousands of companies.

But the atmosphere remains extremely tense between the government and the separatists, without any initiation of dialogue, while everyone stands on his positions.

“A fugitive man, a man who has claimed to unilaterally liquidate sovereignty and national unity can not be president of anything,” said Mariano Rajoy on Cope radio on Monday.

For their part, the separatists want to return power to Mr. Puigdemont by “dignity”.

And they cried scandal by reading in the daily El Pais an article mentioning appeals of members of the central government to several judges of the Constitutional Court before its decision on Saturday, to highlight the “seriousness” of a possible investiture of Carles Puigdemont.

The Court, composed of members appointed mainly by the conservative majority that dominated the Chamber of Deputies in Madrid until 2015, is regularly accused of bias by the separatists, especially since it canceled in 2010 part of the status conferring autonomy enlarged to Catalonia, one of the roots of the current conflict.

If Mr. Puigdemont is absent, Roger Torrent could let open the session before considering that the investiture is not possible remotely and that we must seek a new candidate.

He could also disobey the Court, at the risk of criminal prosecution. He can finally save time by postponing the session …

Some in his camp now openly believe that it is time to “sacrifice” Mr. Puigdemont to allow a new regional government to take office and put an end to the trusteeship of Catalonia.

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