Brussels—Former Catalan leadership flees to Belgium.

Sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and five members of his former cabinet are in the Belgian capital.

“We came to avoid a confrontation that may possibly have occurred if we stayed in Barcelona,” said Puigdemont in a press conference.

But he clarified that he wouldn’t be seeking political asylum from the Belgian authorities.

Spanish Attorney General Jose Maza had earlier filed charges of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds against the former Catalan leadership.

In a press conference, he accused them of “an institutional crisis that ended with the unilateral declaration of independence with total contempt for our constitution.”

If found guilty, they could face up to 30 years in jail.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Government continues to implement direct rule in the troubled region.  The Catalan Parliament has been dissolved.  Catalan police chiefs have been fired and Catalan civil servants have been fired in droves.  To replace them, fresh blood is being brought from elsewhere in Spain.

Elections are going to take place on December 21st.

“I want a clear commitment from the state. Will the state respect the results that could give separatists forces a majority?” asked Puigdemont reporters.

As noted before, the elections can go both ways.  Puigdemont understands that.  And he appears ready to fight.  Although from what position is questionable since he’s lost much clout and influence within the independence movement for his inept handling of the October 1st referendum and the events that followed it.

Spanish government seems ready to fight, as well.  Madrid has already been implementing Article 155 in Catalonia.  But, as Puigdemont asked, would the Spanish government accept a result contrary to its agenda?

Stay tuned. We’ll soon find out.


Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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