"Spanish authorities are monitoring borders to make sure that fugitive Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont does not sneak back into Spain to take up the presidency of the regional parliament again," reads a report on the latest developments in Catalonia. But could a man whose photograph has appeared on every newspaper front page in the country really sneak back into Spain without being noticed? If this is the case then it doesn't say much for Spanish border security.
Obviously, Puigdemont is a major embarrassment for the Spanish authorities. The fact that the pro-independence parties who were victorious in the recent Catalan elections want him to be president again is a major blow to the Spanish government. Puigdemont has gone from the "Catalan president who declared independence" to "fugitive" to "president-elect" in the space of three months, and I suspect that there will be plenty of further twists and turns in the coming weeks and months.
He can never become president of the Catalan government because he is still a wanted man. But the fact that Catalonia still wants him as president is a slap in the face for Prime Minister Rajoy. So, Puigdemont the president or the fugitive? I sincerely believe that sooner or later the Spanish government will have no option but to enter into talks with the political parties who want independence. That is the only way forward for Catalonia and Spain.
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