The sacked former president of Spain's Catalonia region, who is currently in self-imposed exile in Belgium to avoid a Spanish arrest warrant, insisted Friday it was possible for him to re-assume his old role from afar using video conference technology but that it would be impossible for him to do so from a prison cell.
Speaking to Catalunya Radio, Carles Puigdemont ruled out a return to Spain until it was guaranteed that he would not be taken into police custody to face charges of rebellion and sedition, a fate that has befallen several other Catalan separatist figureheads including the vice president of the now-defunct Catalan government, Oriol Junqueras, who was awaiting trial from a prison cell in Madrid.
"Between being president and being prisoner, I think I would choose the former, because I believe this would better serve Catalonia," Puigdemont said, adding that modern technologies to govern from afar were already being used by multinational companies and that he saw no hurdle in Catalan law that could prevent him doing the same in local government.
Catalan separatists parties, who together won a slim majority in recent snap elections, have given their backing to invest Puigdemont as president.
But the central Spanish government, whose use of constitutional measures in the wake of Catalonia's unilateral declaration of independence in Oct. 2017 saw it take control of the region's institutions, has sharply dismissed Puigdemont's plans to govern in absentia.