Carles Puigdemont

Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó (Catalan: [ˈkaɾləs ˌpudʒðəˈmon i ˌkazəməˈʒo] (listen); born 29 December 1962 in Amer, Girona) is a Catalan politician and journalist from Spain, currently living in Belgium. A former Mayor of Girona, Puigdemont served as President of the Government of Catalonia from January 2016 to October 2017 when he was removed from office by the Spanish Government following the unilateral Catalan declaration of independence.[1] He is chair of the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) and leader of the Junts per Catalunya (JuntsxCat) electoral alliance.

After education in Amer and Girona, he became a journalist in 1982, writing for various local publications and becoming editor-in-chief of El Punt. He was director of the Catalan News Agency from 1999 to 2002 and director of Girona's House of Culture from 2002 to 2004.

Puigdemont's family were supporters of Catalan independence and Puigdemont became involved in politics as a teenager, joining the nationalist Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), the predecessor to the PDeCAT, in 1980. He gave up journalism to pursue a career in politics in 2006 when he was elected as a member of the Parliament of Catalonia for the constituency of Girona. He was elected to the Municipality Council of Girona in 2007 and in 2011 he became Mayor of Girona. On 10 January 2016, following an agreement between the Junts pel Sí (JxSí), an electoral alliance led by the CDC, and the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), the Parliament of Catalonia elected Puigdemont as the 130th[2] President of Catalonia.

On 6-7 September 2017, he approved laws for permitting an independence referendum, and the juridical transition and foundation of a Republic, a new constitution for Catalonia that would be in place if the referendum supported independence. On 1 October 2017, the Catalan independence referendum was held in Catalonia despite Spain's Constitutional Court ruling that it breached the Spanish constitution. Despite the Spanish Government's cyber attacks[3], the closing of polling stations[4] and the use of excessive force by Spanish Police[5] 43% of Catalan citizens managed to vote in the illegal referendum, 92% of them supporting independence. The Catalan Parliament declared independence on 27 October 2017 which resulted in the Spanish government imposing direct rule on Catalonia, dismissing Puigdemont and the Catalan government. The Catalan Parliament was dissolved and the Catalan regional election, 2017 was held. On 30 October 2017 charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds were brought against Puigdemont and other members of the Puigdemont Government. Puigdemont, along with others, fled to Belgium and European Arrest Warrants (EAW) were issued against them. At the regional elections held on 21 December 2017 Puigdemont was re-elected to Parliament and Catalan secessionists retained a slim majority. Official results shown an actual support for independence of 47,6% versus a 43,5% that voted constitutionalist parties, the rest being non-aligned parties and blank votes. Puigdemont called for fresh talks with the then Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy but these were rejected.

Puigdemont remained in Belgium to avoid arrest if he returned to Spain, with this situation being defined as exile by some, self-imposed exile by some others, and also as fugitive from justice.[6][7][8][9][10] On 25 March 2018, he was detained by a highway patrol in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. He was released on bail, with the court deciding he could not be extradited for "rebellion"[11][12][13] as German law does not coincide with Spanish law on the definition thereof, a requirement of his EAW. On 10 July, 2018 a Supreme Court judge suspended him as a deputy in the Catalan parliament.[14] On 12 July 2018 a German court decided that he could be extradited back to Spain for misuse of public funds, but not for the more serious charge of rebellion.[15] Following this, on 19 July 2018, Spain dropped the European Arrest Warrants against Puigdemont and other Catalan officials in exile.[16]


Carles Puigdemont

Retrat oficial del President Carles Puigdemont cropped
Puigdemont in 2016
130th President of the Government of Catalonia
In office
11 January 2016 – 27 October 2017
MonarchFelipe VI
Vice PresidentOriol Junqueras
Preceded byArtur Mas
Succeeded byDirect rule
(Quim Torra from 15 May 2018)
Member of the Parliament of Catalonia
for the Province of Barcelona
In office
17 January 2018 – 10 July 2018 (suspended)
Member of the Parliament of Catalonia
for the Province of Girona
In office
10 November 2006 – 27 October 2017
Mayor of Girona
In office
1 July 2011 – 11 January 2016
Preceded byAnna Pagans
Succeeded byAlbert Ballesta i Tura
Member of the Municipality Council of Girona
In office
11 June 2007 – 11 January 2016
Personal details
Born
Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó

29 December 1962 (age 56)
Amer, Catalonia, Spain
Political partyCatalan European Democratic Party
Other political
affiliations
Spouse(s)
Marcela Topor (m. 2000)
Children2
ResidenceGirona / Belgium
OccupationJournalist
Signature
Carles Puigdemont's signature
WebsiteCarles Puigdemont

Early life and family

Carles Puigdemont, de petit amb el seu germà gran
Puigdemont (right) as a child with his elder brother

Puigdemont was born on 29 December 1962 in Amer, a small mountain village in the Province of Girona in north-eastern Catalonia.[17][18] The son of Francesc Xavier Puigdemont i Oliveras, a baker, and his wife Núria Casamajó i Ruiz, he is the second of eight brothers.[18][19] Puigdemont's grandfather, who fought in the Spanish Civil War before fleeing to France, founded the Pastisseria Puigdemont in 1928.[20][21][22] The Puigdemont family still own the bakery located in Amer's main square.[23] Puigdemont's great-grandfather and his uncle Josep Puigdemont were mayors of Amer and were supporters of Catalan independence, as was Puigdemont's father Xavier.[21]

Puigdemont received basic education in Amer before, aged nine, he was sent to study at the Church-run Santa Maria del Collell boarding school in Girona where he was taught in Spanish and "learned to be a fighter".[18][24] At the age of 16 he was already a reporter for the Diari de Girona newspaper, writing articles on football and other news.

As a teenager Puigdemont attended political meetings with his uncle Josep and helped found the Nationalist Youth of Catalonia.[21] In 1980 he joined the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), a conservative Catalan nationalist political party, now known as the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT).[18]

After school Puigdemont joined the University College of Girona to study Catalan philology but dropped out to pursue a career in journalism.[19][21][24] In 1983, aged 21, Puigdemont was involved in a car accident which left him seriously injured and with a slight scar on his face.[19][21][25] It has been suggested that this explains his Beatle haircut but friends deny this.[19][21]

Journalism career

Puigdemont joined the El Punt, a pro-independence Catalan language newspaper, as a journalist in 1982.[18][21][25] He rose up the ranks to become the paper's editor-in-chief.[17] He also wrote a weekly column for the Presència magazine.[17][26] He is a member of the Catalan Journalists Association.

Beginning in 1988, Puigdemont started collecting references about Catalonia in the international press, material that resulted in the publication of the 1994 book Cata... què? Catalunya vista per la premsa internacional ("Cata...what? Catalonia as seen by the foreign press").[26][27] During the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona Puigdemont was a member of an organisation supporting Catalan nationalists detained as part of "Operation Garzón".

In the 1990s Puigdemont took a year off work to study linguistic policies elsewhere in Europe.[21] As a result, he started working on application of new technologies in the provision of news and founded the Catalan News Agency (ACN) which was established by the Generalitat de Catalunya in 1999.[17][21] Puigdemont also founded the Catalonia Today, an English language magazine.[17][28] Puigdemont was director of ACN until 2002, when the then-president of the Diputació de Girona, Carles Pàramo, offered him the position of director of the Girona cultural centre, the Casa de Cultura, a position he held until 2004.[26]

Political life

Judici 9N Mas-Ortega-Rigau 0038
Protest against the trial of Artur Mas, Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau on 6 February 2017

Puigdemont left journalism to devote himself fully to politics in 2006 when the Convergence and Union (CiU) electoral alliance invited him to be a candidate for the Parliament of Catalonia.[29] Puigdemont contested the 2006 regional election as a CiU candidate in the Province of Girona and was elected.[30] He was re-elected at the 2010, 2012 and 2015 regional elections, the latter as a Junts pel Sí (JxSí) electoral alliance candidate.[31][32][33]

Puigdemont contested the 2007 local elections as a CiU candidate in Girona and was elected but the CiU remained in opposition.[34] At the 2011 local elections, in which Puigdemont we re-elected, the CiU ended the Socialists's 32-year rule in Girona.[17][35] Puigdemont became Mayor of Girona.[21][36] He was re-elected at the 2015 local elections.[37] He was a member of Executive Committee of the Association of Municipalities for Independence and in July 2015 succeeded Josep Maria Vila d'Abadal as its chair.[17][26][38]

Following a last-minute agreement between pro-Catalan independence parties Junts pel Sí and Popular Unity Candidacy to replace Artur Mas, Puigdemont was elected the 130th [17][26][39][40][41][42][43] President of Catalonia on 10 January 2016.[19][26][44][45] He resigned as Mayor of Girona on 11 January 2016 as no-one is allowed to be a regional president and a municipal mayor at the same time.[46] He was the first President of Catalonia to refuse to take the oath of loyalty to the Spanish constitution and the Spanish monarch.[17]

Constitutional crisis

President Puigdemont, "Ciutadans de Catalunya, vénen hores en què a tots ens pertocarà de mantenir el pols del nostre país" 02
Puigdemont addresses a crowd following the Catalan declaration of independence on 27 October 2017

In June 2017 Puigdemont announced that the Catalan independence referendum would be held on 1 October 2017.[47][48] The Catalan Parliament passed legislation on 6 September 2017 authorising the referendum which would be binding and based on a simple majority without a minimum threshold.[49][50] The following day Constitutional Court of Spain suspended the legislation, blocking the referendum.[51][52] The Spanish government put into effect Operation Anubis in order to disrupt the organisation of the referendum and arrested Catalan government officials.[53][54] Despite this the referendum went ahead though it was boycotted by opponents of secessionism[55] and turnout was only 43%.[56][57] Among those who voted 92% supported independence.[58][59] Around 900 people were injured as the Spanish police used violence to try to prevent voting in the referendum.[60][61][62]

On 27 October 2017 the Catalan Parliament declared independence in a vote boycotted by opposition MPs.[63][64] Almost immediately the Senate of Spain invoked article 155 of the constitution, dismissing Puigdemont and the Catalan government and imposing direct rule on Catalonia.[65][66] The following day Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dissolved the Catalan Parliament and called for fresh regional elections on 21 December 2017.[67][68] On 30 October 2017 Spanish Attorney General José Manuel Maza laid charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds at the Audiencia Nacional against Puigdemont and other members of the Catalan government.[69][70] The charges carry maximum sentences of 30, 15 and 6 years in prison respectively.[71]

Puigdemont and five other Catalan ministers (Dolors Bassa, Meritxell Borrás, Antoni Comín, Joaquim Forn and Meritxell Serret) arrived in Belgium on 30 October 2017.[72][73] According to Spanish media the group had driven to Marseille shortly after the charges were laid before the Audiencia Nacional and from there flown to Brussels.[74][75] Puigdemont claimed that he had gone to "the capital of Europe" to speak from a position of "freedom and safety" and that he would not return to Spain unless he was guaranteed a fair trial.[76][77][78] Earlier Belgium's Secretary of State for Asylum, Migration and Administrative Simplification Theo Francken had stated that prospect of Puigdemont being granted asylum was "not unrealistic".[79][80]

Self-exile

DC72041 (26645312737)
Protest march in Barcelona in support of Puigdemont on 15 April 2018

On 3 November 2017 a Spanish judge issued European Arrest Warrants against Comín, Clara Ponsatí i Obiols, Lluís Puig, Puigdemont and Serret after they failed to attend a high court hearing in Madrid the previous day.[81][82][83] On 5 November 2017 the five politicians, accompanied by their lawyers, surrendered to the Belgian police but after a ten-hour hearing a Belgian judge released them all on bail.[84][85][86] They were ordered not to leave Belgium without permission and had to provide details of their accommodation.[87] On 5 December 2017 the Supreme Court of Spain withdrew the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) against Puigdemont and four others stating that EAW weren't valid for alleged crimes committed by a wider group of people, e.g. the Catalan government.[88][89] But judge Pablo Llarena warned that the national arrest warrants remain valid, meaning that the group risked arrest if they returned to Spain.[90][91]

Carles Puigdemont Guernica Memorial Berlin
Puigdemont attending a memorial for the bombing of Guernica in Berlin on 26 April 2018

While remaining self-exiled,[9][10] Puigdemont contested the 2017 regional election as a Junts per Catalunya (JuntsxCat) electoral alliance candidate in the Province of Barcelona and was re-elected to Parliament.[92] At the election Catalan secessionists retained a slim majority in the Catalan Parliament.[93][94] After the election Puigdemont called for new unconditional talks with the Spanish government and that he was willing to meet Rajoy outside of Spain.[95][96] Rajoy rejected the offer, saying that he was only willing to speak with the leader of the Catalan government, whom he considered to be Inés Arrimadas, leader of the unionist Citizens, the largest single party in the Catalan Parliament.[97][98]

On 1 March 2018, Puigdemont was hoping to be selected by the Catalan Parliament as President of Catalonia again, but the Catalan Parliament heeded warnings from Spain’s judiciary and postponed the session in which Puigdemont could be selected. Subsequently Puigdemont announced that he was no longer seeking re-election as leader of Catalonia.[99][100] Later he announced the creation of a government-in-exile organization named "Council of the Republic".[101][102]

On 25 March 2018, while returning to Brussels from a trip to Finland, Puigdemont was stopped near the Danish border with Germany and arrested pursuant to the European warrant that had been reissued against him two days previously.[103][104][105] On 5 April 2018, the Oberlandesgericht in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein ruled that Puigdemont would not be extradited on the charges of rebellion,[106] and released him on bail.[107][108] The court confirmed that Puigdemont may still be extradited based on charges of corruption.[107] According to that decision, Puigdemont was required to report to police once a week and could not leave Germany without permission of the public prosecutor.[109]

After his release, Puigdemont called on Spain’s government to release Catalan separatists from imprisonment and establish a dialog with them. [110]

On 12 July 2018 the higher court in Schleswig-Holstein decided that Puigdemont could be extradited back to Spain to face charges of misuse of public funds, but not for the more serious rebellion charge. Puigdemont's legal team said they would appeal any decision to extradite him.[111] Ultimately, though, Spain dropped its European arrest warrant, ending the extradition attempt.[112] Puigdemont was once again free to travel, and chose to return to Belgium.

In January 2019 Puigdemont filed a constitutional application for amparo directed against the president of the Catalan parliament, Roger Torrent and the Board of the Chamber. The complaint, presented to the Spanish Constitutional Court, argued Puigdemont had been denied the use of his political rights as Torrent did not allow him to delegate his vote from Belgium after the Puigdemont's criminal indictment and suspension of his parliamentary condition by Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena.[113]

Personal life

El president Puigdemont passejant per Barcelona amb les seves filles
President Puigdemont walking through Barcelona with his daughters on Saint George's Day

Puigdemont married Romanian journalist Marcela Topor in 2000.[26][114] They have two daughters, Magali and Maria, and live in Girona.[28][114] He speaks Catalan, English, French, Romanian and Spanish.[21][25] Puigdemont is a supporter of Girona FC and FC Barcelona and plays rock guitar and the electric piano.[26][115][116] As a youngster Puigdemont played bass in a short-lived Catalan rock band formed about 1980.[116]

On 2 February 2018, the Belgian commune of Waterloo confirmed that he had rented a villa and planned to establish his official residence there.[117]

Electoral history

Atentados de Barcelona - Manifestación en apoyo a las víctimas de los atentados de Barcelona y Cambrils (02)
President Puigdemont, Prime Minister Rajoy and King Felipe attending the Barcelona rally in response to terror attacks in August 2017
Electoral history of Carles Puigdemont
Election Constituency Party Alliance No. Result
2006 regional[30] Province of Girona Democratic Convergence of Catalonia Convergence and Union 6 Elected
2007 local[34] Municipality of Girona Democratic Convergence of Catalonia Convergence and Union 1 Elected
2010 regional[31] Province of Girona Democratic Convergence of Catalonia Convergence and Union 6 Elected
2011 local[35] Municipality of Girona Democratic Convergence of Catalonia Convergence and Union 1 Elected
2012 regional[32] Province of Girona Democratic Convergence of Catalonia Convergence and Union 3 Elected
2015 local[37] Municipality of Girona Democratic Convergence of Catalonia Convergence and Union 1 Elected
2015 regional[33] Province of Girona Democratic Convergence of Catalonia Junts pel Sí 3 Elected
2017 regional[92] Province of Barcelona Catalan European Democratic Party Junts per Catalunya 1 Elected

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External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Anna Pagans
Mayor of Girona
2011–2016
Succeeded by
Albert Ballesta
Preceded by
Artur Mas
President of the Government of Catalonia
2016–2017
Succeeded by
Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría
as Minister for Territorial Administrations
Party political offices
Preceded by
Josep Maria Vila d'Abadal
President of the Association of Municipalities for Independence
2015–2016
Succeeded by
Josep Andreu
New office Chair of the Catalan European Democratic Party
2017–present
Incumbent
Leader of Together for Catalonia
2017–present
2017 Catalan general strike

Catalan separatists, labor unions, and cultural groups held a general strike on 3 October 2017 following Catalonia's referendum on independence two days earlier. The referendum, which was held in defiance of Spanish national court orders, was subject to violent crackdowns in which the Spanish military police attempted to prevent Catalans from voting, which injured over 900 people and led to separatist support for a general strike. Smaller unions had initially planned the strike in advance of the referendum, but the police violence led to widespread support, including that of the Catalan government, Spain's two major labor unions, and pro-independence groups. At the time of the strike, Catalonia represented a fifth of the Spanish gross domestic product, comparable in size to the Chilean economy.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators participated in the strike, including 700,000 in Barcelona, according to the city's police. Farmers, dockworkers, and firefighters demonstrated. Spanish police and government sites were focal sites of protests in and out of Barcelona. Public transportation and port activity were suspended, university classes canceled, and businesses small and large closed. Some protesters wore Catalan separatist flags.

Immediate effects of the strike included an emergency meeting called by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, and a rare, televised address by Spanish King Felipe VI, in which he forcefully condemned Catalan leaders for disloyalty and did not mention police violence during the referendum. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont announced that the government would declare independence unilaterally within a week of the result. Another union called for a follow-up general strike a week later, from 10 to 16 October, pending government response, but the 3 October organizers have not announced whether they will participate.

2017 Catalan regional election

The 2017 Catalan regional election was held on Thursday, 21 December 2017 to elect the 12th Parliament of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia. All 135 seats in the Parliament were up for election. The election was called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy after the invocation of Article 155 of the 1978 Spanish Constitution and dismissal of the Catalan Government, led by former President Carles Puigdemont. The three pro-Catalan independence parties won a slim majority of parliamentary seats, claiming 70 out of 135, but fell short of a majority in the popular vote by securing 47.5% of the share.

After the 2015 election, pro-Catalan independence parties maintained their majority in the Parliament, although President Artur Mas and his Junts pel Sí (JxSí) coalition—made up primarily by Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) and Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC)—required support from Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) to govern. The CUP's decision to vote against his investiture forced Mas to withdraw his bid in order to prevent a snap election, with Carles Puigdemont, former Mayor of Girona, being elected as leader of the CDC–ERC coalition instead. Shortly thereafter, CDC was re-founded as Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT).On 27 October 2017, following the controversial referendum on 1 October, the pro-independence majority in the Catalan parliament voted in favour of a unilateral declaration of independence, just hours before the Spanish Senate voted to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. This allowed Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to sack the Catalan government and dissolve the Catalan parliament, calling a regional election for 21 December. With 36 seats, the main anti-independence party, Citizens (Cs), emerged as the largest in the Parliament. The Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC) performed well below expectations and increased its seat count by one, whereas Catalunya en Comú–Podem, a left-wing party in favor of self-governance for the region but not siding itself with either bloc, received 7.5% of the vote and 8 seats. Owing to the combined performance of Puigdemont's Junts per Catalunya (JuntsxCat) and ERC, parties in support of independence maintained their majority in the election, meaning that it was mathematically possible for a pro-independence coalition government to return to power, despite their overall majority having been reduced by two seats.The biggest election loser was Rajoy's People's Party (PP), whose electoral collapse—reduced to 4.2% of the share and 4 out of 135 seats—meant it would be unable to form a parliamentary group of its own in the Catalan parliament for the first time in history. The scale of PP's downfall, coupled with the success of Cs, threatened to have a political impact beyond Catalonia, with PP leaders fearing it could spell the end of the party's hegemony over the centre-right vote in Spain.

2017–18 Spanish constitutional crisis

The 2017–18 Spanish constitutional crisis, also known as the Catalan crisis, was a political conflict between the Government of Spain and the Generalitat de Catalunya under former President Carles Puigdemont—the government of the autonomous community of Catalonia until 28 October 2017—over the issue of Catalan independence. It started after the law intending to allow the 2017 Catalan independence referendum was denounced by the Spanish government under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and subsequently suspended by the Constitutional Court until it ruled on the issue. Some international media outlets have described the events as "one of the worst political crises in modern Spanish history".Puigdemont's government announced that neither central Spanish authorities nor the courts would halt their plans and that it intended to hold the vote anyway, sparking a legal backlash that quickly spread from the Spanish and Catalan governments to Catalan municipalities—as local mayors were urged by the Generalitat to provide logistical support and help for the electoral process to be carried out—as well as to the Constitutional Court, the High Court of Justice of Catalonia and state prosecutors. By 15 September, as pro-Catalan independence parties began their referendum campaigns, the Spanish government had launched an all-out legal offensive to thwart the upcoming vote, including threats of a financial takeover of much of the Catalan budget, police seizing pro-referendum posters, pamphlets and leaflets which had been regarded as illegal and criminal investigations ordered on the over 700 local mayors who had publicly agreed to help stage the referendum. Tensions between the two sides reached a critical point after Spanish police raided the Catalan government headquarters in Barcelona on 20 September, at the start of Operation Anubis, and arrested fourteen senior Catalan officials. This led to protests outside the Catalan economy department which saw Civil Guard officers trapped inside the building for hours and several vehicles vandalized. The referendum was eventually held, albeit without meeting minimum standards for elections and amid low turnout and police crackdown resulting in hundreds injured.On 10 October, Puigdemont ambiguously declared and suspended independence during a speech in the Parliament of Catalonia, arguing his move was directed at entering talks with Spain. The Spanish government required Puigdemont to clarify whether he had declared independence or not, to which it received no clear answer. A further requirement was met with an implicit threat from the Generalitat that it would lift the suspension on the independence declaration if Spain "continued its repression", in response to the imprisonment of the leaders of pro-independence Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, accused of sedition by the National Court because of their involvement in the 20 September events. On 21 October, it was announced by Prime Minister Rajoy that Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution would be invoked, leading to direct rule over Catalonia by the Spanish government once approved by the Senate.On 27 October, the Catalan parliament voted in a secret ballot to unilaterally declare independence from Spain, with some deputies boycotting a vote considered illegal for violating the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Spain, as the lawyers of the Parliament of Catalonia warned. As a result, the government of Spain invoked the Constitution to remove the regional authorities and enforce direct rule the next day, with a regional election being subsequently called for 21 December 2017 to elect a new Parliament of Catalonia. Puigdemont and part of his cabinet fled to Belgium after being ousted, as the Spanish Attorney General pressed for charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds against them.

Amer, Girona

Amer is a municipality in the comarca of la Selva in the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain.

Ben Emmerson

Ben Emmerson, QC (born 10 August 1963) is a British lawyer, specialising in European human rights law, public international law and international criminal law. He was a founder member of Matrix Chambers and has 25 years’ experience litigating before international courts and tribunals including the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. He helped draft the 1998 Human Rights Act introduced by Tony Blair. Within the UK he is a deputy High Court Judge, a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple and an Honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford.

In 2014 he was appointed Counsel for the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales, but was suspended from duty and then resigned in September 2016. In December 2016, Mr. Emmerson was cleared of wrong-doing and IICSA has formally launched a separate, independent examination of the way Emmerson’s resignation was handled. It may now ask why Emmerson was not asked about the now discredited allegation at the time so that he could respond. The human rights campaigner Helena Kennedy, who has worked with Emmerson, welcomed the independent inquiry’s finding that dismissed the allegations of sexual misconduct. "I have known Ben for many, many years," Lady Kennedy said. "He's a feminist. He lives as he speaks. He had discussed this matter with me. He's not someone who takes liberties with people. I shared his shock when a public allegation was made. I'm satisfied that it was ill-founded."

Clara Ponsatí i Obiols

Clara Ponsatí Obiols (born March 19, 1957) is a Catalan economist, appointed Councillor of Education of the Generalitat of Catalonia by former President Carles Puigdemont on 14 July 2017. Before she was seconded to her regional post, she was the Head of the School of Economics and Finance at the University of St Andrews.

Council for the Republic

The Council for the Republic (Catalan: Consell per la República) is a private organisation headed by deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, which seeks to organise and promote the Catalan independence movement following the failure of the 2017 Catalan declaration of independence. It also promotes the defence of civil and political rights. The council would consist of the president and seven members.The Council was presented on 30 October 2018 in the Catalan Government Palace, Barcelona, by Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín, Quim Torra and Pere Aragonès. The event was attended by representatives and deputies, as well as ministers and senior government officials, mayors and representatives of civic organisations.The Council for the Republic was presented on 8 December 2018 at the KVS Flemish Theater in Brussels. The event was attended by Quim Torra, Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín, Clara Ponsatí, Lluís Puig and Meritxell Serret.

Election in absentia

In parliamentary procedure, election in absentia refers to the election of a presiding officer of a committee or assembly, when the person is not present. More broadly, in the context of an election it may be used to refer to a candidate who is not present in the jurisdiction for which the election is taking place, which may or may not be permitted by the relevant election law.

Julius Caesar famously requested to be allowed to stand for election to the consulship in 59 BC in absentia, contrary to a rule established four years prior requiring candidates for the consulship to be present in Rome: being a magistrate with imperium he could not cross the pomerium, but were he to give up his imperium he would not receive a triumph. In the end the Senate would not grant him permission to stand in absentia, and he chose to forego the triumph.During the 2017–18 Spanish constitutional crisis, the regional Parliament of Catalonia voted a law aimed at allowing Carles Puigdemont to stand for election while the former leader was then in self-imposed exile. The Constitutional Court of Spain blocked the move.

Generalitat de Catalunya

The Government of Catalonia or the Generalitat de Catalunya (Eastern Catalan: [ʒənəɾəliˈtad də kətəˈluɲə]; Spanish: Generalidad de Cataluña) is the institution under which the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia is politically organised. It consists of the Parliament of Catalonia, the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, and the Executive Council of Catalonia.

The Generalitat has a budget of €34 billion euros.The Parliament of Catalonia unilaterally declared independence from Spain on 27 October 2017 as the 'Catalan Republic'. In response then Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy decided to dissolve the Parliament of Catalonia and to call a snap regional election for 21 December 2017, after which a new Parliament and a new Catalan government was elected. The independence declaration was turned down by the central Spanish government, and members of the Catalan government, including Carles Puigdemont, fled to Belgium claiming to be the legitimate government of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

Jordi Sànchez i Picanyol

Jordi Sànchez i Picanyol (born 1 October 1964, Barcelona) is a Spanish political activist from Catalonia, who was president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) between May 2015 and November 2017.He was imprisoned in October 2017, accused of sedition in connection with the Catalan independence referendum. In March 2018, following the Catalan regional election in December, he was proposed as candidate for president by the leading pro-independence Junts per Catalunya party, led by the former president Carles Puigdemont, who was in Belgium. On July 10, 2018 a Supreme Court judge suspended him as a deputy in the Catalan parliament.During December 2018 he went on a hunger strike in protest against his imprisonment and treatment.

Josep Rull

Josep Rull i Andreu (born 2 September 1968) is a Spanish politician. Had been the Counselor of Territory and Sustainability of Catalonia at the Government of Carles Puigdemont between 2016 and 2017, when Spanish Rajoy's Government ceased the Catalan executive following the Catalan declaration of independence amid the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution.

Between 2 November and 4 December 2017, he was jailed and again since 23 March 2018. He was a member of the Catalan Parliament but on 10 July 2018 a Supreme Court judge suspended him as a deputy.

Junts per Catalunya

Junts per Catalunya (English: Together for Catalonia, JuntsxCat) is a Catalan political platform centered around former President of the Generalitat of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont and formed by the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT), successor of the now defunct Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, and independents to contest the 2017 Catalan regional election. The PDeCAT would provide the core of the platform, but it was to be structured as Puigdemont's personal list composed of figures from the civil society instead of a party list.This came upon Puigdemont's rejection to lead a PDeCAT-only list into the 21 December election, instead favouring a "country list" after both Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) rejected a new Junts pel Sí coalition.

Marcela Topor

Marcela Topor (born 8 September 1976) is a Romanian journalist, and the wife of Spanish politician and journalist Carles Puigdemont, the ex President of Catalonia's Generalitat. She holds a degree in English philology from the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași. Topor first met her future husband at the International Festival of Amateur Theatre of Girona in 1996, in which she participated as an actress with the Ludic Theatre company. Two years later, they married.Topor is the editor of Catalonia Today, an English-language magazine and website based in Girona. She also hosts the television programme Catalan Connections, which features interviews in English with resident foreigners in Catalonia, broadcast on the El Punt Avui TV channel and posted to the Catalonia Today website.The couple has two daughters. Topor speaks Spanish, English, Romanian, and Catalan.

Meritxell Serret

Meritxell Serret Aleu (born 1975) is a Spanish politician from Catalonia, and the former Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

Next Catalan regional election

The next Catalan regional election will be held no later than Friday, 4 February 2022, to elect the 13th Parliament of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia. All 135 seats in the Parliament will be up for election.

After the 2017 election, pro-Catalan independence parties secured a parliamentary majority. As a result, Citizens leader Inés Arrimadas announced she would not try to form a government on her own, instead waiting and see how negotiations between pro-independence parties evolved. As the candidate of the most-voted party within the pro-independence bloc, Carles Puigdemont was proposed as candidate for re-election as President of the Government. However, facing arrest on possible charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds, the Catalan parliament delayed Puigdemont's investiture after Constitutional Court ruled that he could not assume the presidency from abroad. Unable to return to Spain, Puigdemont stepped his claim aside in favour of detained activist Jordi Sànchez. However, as Spain's Supreme Court did not allow Sànchez to be freed from jail to attend his investiture ceremony, he ended up giving up his candidacy in favour of former Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull, who was also under judicial investigation.Turull was defeated in the first ballot of a hastily convened investiture session held on 22 March, and was among the thirteen senior Catalan leaders charged with rebellion by the Supreme Court the next day over their roles in the 2017 unilateral referendum and subsequent declaration of independence. As a result, Turull and several others were put in preventive detention without bail, while Marta Rovira—ERC's general secretary and deputy leader to jailed Oriol Junqueras—fled the country to Switzerland. The European Arrest Warrant against Puigdemont was reactivated, resulting in him being caught and detained by German police while crossing the Danish–German border on his way to Belgium, returning from a visit to Finland.

Puigdemont Government

The Puigdemont Government was the regional government of Catalonia led by President Carles Puigdemont between 2016 and 2017. It was formed in January 2016 after the resignation of Puigdemont's predecessor Artur Mas and it ended in October 2017 with the imposition of direct rule following the Catalan declaration of independence.

Raül Romeva

Raül Romeva i Rueda (born in Madrid, 12 March 1971) is a Spanish politician from Catalonia and a former Member of the European Parliament with the Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, part of the European Greens. He sat on the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. In the Catalan parliamentary election of 2015 he led the Pro-Independence electoral list, Together for Yes. He was named Minister for External and Institutional Relations, and Transparency in the Catalan Regional Government under President Carles Puigdemont on January 14, 2016 before his role was revoked by the Spanish Government on the 27th of October 2017, as part of the constitutional application of article 155. Mr. Romeva i Rueda has been under investigation by the Office of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia for the alleged crimes of malfeasance, disobeying Spain's Constitutional Tribunal and the embezzlement of public funds, after he signed a Decree issued by the Catalonian parliament which called for the celebration of a self-determination referendum, alongside other members of Catalonia's regional government. Although according to Spanish criminal law (reform of 1995) it is legal for a regional parliament to organize a referendum on any topic, the Audiencia Nacional court claimed the referendum as illegal under a sentence by Judge Mrs. Carmen Lamela.

He was jailed on 2 November 2017, and again on 23 March 2018, charged with rebellion and sedition crimes.

Schuby

Schuby (Danish: Skovby) is a municipality in the district Schleswig-Flensburg, in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. It is only a few kilometres west from Schleswig.

The name comes from the Danish "Skovby", meaning the "Village in the Woods". Schuby is located on the Bundesautobahn 7, from which it has its "own" exit.

Schuby is part of the Amt ("collective municipality") Arensharde.

The ancestors of Stanford Computer Scientist Donald Knuth emigrated from Schuby.

Carles Puigdemont was arrested at a gas station in this town.

Spain's reaction to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence

Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia was enacted on Sunday, 17 February 2008 by a unanimous vote of the Assembly of Kosovo. All 11 representatives of the Serb minority boycotted the proceedings. International reaction was mixed, and the world community continues to be divided on the issue, with 113 of 193 UN member states recognizing Kosovo's independence. Spain's reaction to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence is one of non-recognition, mainly due to concerns about the implications for its own territory. Although it has given indications that its stance may change, increasing political tensions in Catalonia under the Government of Carles Puigdemont make it unlikely that Spain will soften its current position.

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