The Catalan parliament reconvened on January 17th, to elect a new speaker. Judging by the proceedings, there is not much cause for optimism.
The biggest obstacle is appointing the new president of the region. The nationalists have won a narrow victory (although they did not win the popular vote), and it seems that they want to reinstate the former leader, Carles Puigdemont, who is in a self-imposed exile in Brussels and sought on a number of charges following illegal declaration of independence.
Since he has been in Belgium, Mr Puigdemont has made a number of irrational choices and decisions, from running a parallel website of the ‘Government of the Republic’ to comparing Spanish Prime Minister to Hitler, which was criticised by representatives from the Spanish Jewish community. This is, to say the least, not helping his friends back in Catalonia.
Mr Puigdemont and his followers want him to run the region ‘via Skype’ from Brussels, which is illegal under both Spanish and Catalan rules as they are. In doing so, they are making themselves look ridiculous, and they aren’t making many friends either. Moreover, it is likely that some of those with sympathies for the cause will abandon ship after this comedy act.
With his actions, Mr Puigdemont has turned himself into the worst enemy of the independence movement. Some of his allies know it and they urged him to reconsider and put Catalonia first.
It is to be hoped that the Catalan crisis will be successfully dealt with by people far more competent and wiser than Mr Puigdemont.