MADRID – The ex-vice president of the dissolved government of Catalonia, Oriol Junqueras, who is currently in jail on suspicion of having breached the constitution and who was re-elected to the region’s parliament in recent elections, will ask to be transferred to a Catalan prison to be able to attend the chamber on day release, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
Junqueras, of the Republican Left of Catalonia party, one of the main proponents of the prosperous northeastern region’s separatist referendum and a subsequent unilateral declaration of independence, could still vie for the chamber’s presidency after Catalan secessionists retained a slim majority in the Dec. 21 elections.
“However, these decisions usually get dragged out,” said Junqueras’ lawyer Andreu Van den Eynde, casting doubt on a rapid change to his client’s status in an interview with Catalunya Radio.
Speaking on the eve of an appeal hearing at Spain’s Supreme Court, Van den Eynde said it was “unlikely” that the court will rule in favor of Junqueras’ request.
The lawyer acknowledged that although the court should be guided strictly by “legal criteria,” its judges could be “influenced” by what he referred to as the political and social context.
If the court’s Appeals Chamber rejects his release request, Van den Eynde will argue that Junqueras should be able to “exercise his political rights” by being transferred to a Catalan prison where he could apply for leave to attend plenary sessions of parliament.
Also, should the ex-president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, who is currently in exile in Belgium, not be able to be invested as president, then Junqueras might end up being elected to head the chamber.