DEPOSED Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is set to be nominated for the position again next week after Catalonia’s main independence-supporting parties yesterday reached agreement.

Only one thing could stand in their way – how to make the appointment legally possible.

Puigdemont has been in Brussels since he was sacked by Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy in October, along with the rest of his cabinet, over their declaration of independence from Spain.

He faces immediate arrest should he return home, but still wants the indy-supporting majority in the new state parliament to appoint him.

The Catalan assembly’s regulations are ambiguous about the possibility of that happening in his absence, but the unionist opposition has said a president cannot govern from afar.

Ines Arrimadas, leader of the Ciutadans (Citizens) party, said: “It’s evident that for governing Catalonia you have to be in Catalonia – you can’t do that via WhatsApp or as a hologram. A person who is fleeing justice can’t be the president.”

However, a spokesman for Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) party said he had secured the backing of the left-republican ERC party in Brussels on Tuesday. Between them, they hold 66 of the 135 seats in the chamber, and can add the support of four anti-establishment politicians.

Their dominance of the chamber, however, depends on elected politicians are either imprisoned without trial, or who are exiled, and who will not be able to vote unless they are released or give up their seats to someone else on the party list. A new president can, however, form government with a simple majority in a second attempt.

An ERC spokesman confirmed the deal, adding that Puigdemont will propose speaking by video conference to the parliament later this month, or get a fellow party member to read the mandatory speech that candidates to the regional leadership must deliver before being voted in.

Rajoy ordered the December 21 election under Article 155 – constitutional powers he invoked in October to dissolve the previous parliament. But the move backfired when independence-supporting parties won enough seats to form a government.

Puigdemont said yesterday that the three Catalan pro-independence parties had secured a majority despite some of their candidates campaigning from exile or in jail while facing possible charges of rebellion.

“The desire to be free from Madrid is rising, it is in the majority and it is lasting over time, despite the huge difficulties it faces,” he wrote in an editorial for the Politico Europe website.

“That calls for attention and respect – neither of which have been offered by the Spanish government and the European Union.”

Puigdemont said that nearly three weeks after the election, the Spanish government was reluctant to acknowledge the results and to accept the defeat of its “repressive strategy”.

“It is incapable of explaining to the world why there is a need to imprison and persecute politicians who have done exactly what they committed themselves to do before voters and the parliament.

“It has not opened a single channel of dialogue with the parliamentary majority that supports the current government of the Generalitat, and it has given no signs of having understood the serious corrective of the ballot boxes.”

He then turned to Europe, saying he was not surprised by its the continuing silence: “Some of Europe’s leaders may continue to remain silent in the face of a government that does not apparently accept the results of an election. We are no longer surprised, but we are disappointed. Siding unconditionally with the Spanish government does not help to solve a problem that is real, that is escalating and that will not go away with baton charges, imprisonments, exiles and prohibitions. Negotiating is not a sign of weakness or cowardice ... But it is high time someone told them that this is not the way ... Madrid must be made to understand that what is needed is dialogue, negotiation and agreement on the future relationship we Catalans want to have with Spain – one based on respect, recognition, cooperation and equality.”