The deadlock in the Spanish region of Catalonia remains, two months after elections were held at the instigation of central government in Madrid (The Guardian).
Former vice-president of the Catalan parliament, Oriol Junqueras, said February 21 that the pro-independence movement could move beyond allegiance to former president Carles Puigdemont. Junqueras remains in jail near Madrid, a fate Puigdemont avoided by fleeing to Belgium last October. Both men were sought on arrest warrants for sedition and rebellion, which the Spanish government says was the effect of calling an illegal referendum on independence.
(See previous WikiTribune coverage of the Catalan situation.)
The Catalan parliament resulting from those elections met for the first time on January 17, although it has until April to finalise all office-holders. Pro-independence politician Roger Torrent was elected Speaker in January. Torrent has the support of the two main pro-independence parties, Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia). He proposed Puigdemont as president of the assembly, but the vote did not pass.
Whether or not Puigdemont can lead Catalonia in absentia has been debated hotly. The BBC notes that a Spanish Supreme Court judge withdrew a Europe-wide warrant in December, saying it would complicate the Spanish legal investigation. Puigdemont faced embarrassment when some defeatist text messages he sent to a colleague were seen and broadcast by Spanish television journalists (link to newspaper El País, English version).