Spain’s central government has said it would welcome the participation of sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont in new elections.
Madrid has ordered that fresh elections for the regional parliament of Catalonia should take place in December.
The central government suspended Catalonia’s autonomy after the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence.
Carles Puigdemont is urging “democratic opposition” to direct rule from Madrid.
He condemned the suspension of Catalonia’s autonomy and promised to continue to “work to build a free country”.
Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since an independence referendum, organized by Carles Puigdemont’s separatist government, was held on October 1 in defiance of a ruling by the Constitutional Court which had declared it illegal.
The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part, 90% were in favor of independence.
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On October 27, Catalonia’s parliament declared independence, with the central government responding by declaring the move illegal.
Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy then announced the dissolution of the regional parliament and the removal of Carles Puigdemont as Catalan leader, and ordered that fresh regional elections should be held.
A large anti-independence demonstration is expected to take place on October 29 in Barcelona, Catalonia’s regional capital.
The political crisis will also be played out on the soccer pitch in the afternoon when Real Madrid, the defending Spanish champions, travel to Catalonia to play Girona, the team supported by Carles Puigdemont.
A central government spokesman in Madrid, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, said Carles Puigdemont had the right to continue in politics, despite his removal from office.
“I’m quite sure that if Puigdemont takes part in these elections, he can exercise this democratic opposition,” Íñigo Méndez de Vigo said, quoted by Reuters.
“The Catalans will be able to say what they feel about what they’ve been seeing in this last year, with all sorts of failing the law, abusing the law and putting themselves outside the law,” the official added.
Íñigo Méndez de Vigo spoke after Carles Puigdemont, in a pre-recorded address to Catalans on October 28, said the central government’s actions were “premeditated aggression” that ran “contrary to the expressed will of the citizens of our country, who know perfectly well that in a democracy it is parliaments that choose, or remove, presidents”.
He added: “We continue persevering in the only attitude that can make us winners. Without violence, without insults, in an inclusive way, respecting people and symbols, opinions, and also respecting the protests of the Catalans who do not agree with what the parliamentary majority has decided.”
A poll published by El Pais on October 28 suggests more Catalans (52% to 43%) are in favor of the dissolution of the regional parliament and the holding of elections.
Fifty-five per cent of Catalan respondents opposed the declaration of independence, with 41% in favor.