Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy promises to keep Article 155 in effect if pro-independence Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont attempts to swear in virtually from Brussels.
In a public announcement today Rajoy said that it would be "absurd" for Puigdemont to not be physically sworn in within the regional parliament if he were elected Catalonia's president. The prime minister said that Art. 155 will remain in effect until a regional president is sworn in.
The regional parliament was elected on Dec. 21 and its 135 elected members are set to be sworn on Jan. 17.
Rajoy added that it doesn't make sense for Puigdemont to be president from afar.
"We'll keep working to consolidate and return Catalonia to normalcy ... to resolve the real problems of the citizens," said the Spanish prime minister.
Rajoy and the national congress invoked Art. 155 at the end of October, dissolving the Catalan government, including its parliament and removing then-president Carles Puidgemont from office. He and several other of his cabinet members took refuge in Belgium, fearing political imprisonment in their own country, and where they have remained since late October. The Supreme Tribunal maintains that if Puigdemont returns he’ll be arrested on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of government funds.
Last week Puigdemont tried to renegotiate his possible return with Rajoy hoping that if elected he could go back to Spain without being imprisoned.
The central government enacted Art. 155 after the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence from Spain.
Several former parliamentary members of the separatist coalition, who have since been reelected Dec. 21, were also imprisoned on charges of sedition and rebellion. They too have been warned they cannot be sworn in virtually Jan 17. The multi-party pro-independence coalition took a house majority with 70 out of 135 seats, but risks losing their majority leverage if their members can't pledge their oath in person at the Catalan Parliament.