The author, who has observed Catalan politics for 40 years, calls for Madrid to soften its stance
Late on Friday 27 October Carles Puigdemont, president of the Catalan government, having declared Catalan independence, made his way from the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, the seat of power, to the city of Girona, close to where he was born, where he served as mayor for five years. The next afternoon, he was seen eating in a restaurant and seemed very relaxed. Sometime that night or the next day, with seven members of his cabinet, he travelled by car to Marseille and from there by plane to Brussels where, at the time of writing, he remains, even though a number of his colleagues have returned to Barcelona.
In his absence, the Spanish authorities are preparing a case against him for rebellion, sedition and embezzlement of funds. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to 30 years in jail.