TALKS involving Catalonia’s pro-independence parties could result in an agreement to install an aide to Carles Puigdemont as president of the Catalan parliament.

Negotiations between Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia (JxCat), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) have focused on how the exiled president could be “symbolically” sworn in from his exile in Brussels.

He could become president of the “Council of the Republic” – a non-existent body that would have to be specially created by reforming the law of the presidency in the Catalan parliament.

However, to avoid any legal backlash from Spain’s central government in Madrid, JxCat’s campaign director, Elsa Artadi, may be sworn in as president of the Generalitat.

She holds an economics doctorate from Harvard, has been a university lecturer and is a respected economist. Artadi is also one of Puigdemont’s closest allies and, it appears that she would be a popular choice as a stand-in president.

It is thought a decision on her nomination could be imminent, depending on the role that would be reserved for Puigdemont in such a scenario.

There is still strong support for a second attempt to swear him in, as judges have still to issue a final ruling on his candidacy.

However, Artadi stressed yesterday: “Puigdemont is our candidate but, above all, he is the candidate of the Parliament.”

ERC spokesperson, Sergi Sabria, told Catalan television station TV3: “Puigdemont is the only candidate on the table for ERC.

“We are looking for ways to legitimise the Puigdemont figure and that he can assume the presidency.”

Meanwhile, Speaker of the Catalan parliament, Roger Torrent, has visited the deposed vice president Oriol Junqueras and interior minister Joaquim Forn, who are being held at Estremera prison in Madrid.

Torrent also visited the two Jordis – Sanchez and Cuixart – who are incarcerated in Soto del Real prison in Madrid and pledged to defend their political rights “until the end”.

“Prison will not incarcerate the ideas that they represent,” he said, adding that the meetings “should never be held in prison”.

All four were being held “for their ideas” and Junqueras and Forn were “peaceful men, profoundly democratic people”.

Their meeting covered their personal situations and the “country’s political situation”.

Torrent added: “It was an emotional meeting.”

“They are men of peace, of deep democratic conviction, that should not be inside the walls of a jail that cannot impose ideas.”

Elsewhere, it has emerged that a member of the Catalan police force the Mossos d’Esquadra, who is with Puigdemont in Brussels, is being investigated over his presence there.

The Mossos has been under Spanish government control since Mariano Rajoy stripped the Catalan government of its devolved powers and imposed direct rule under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution following its declaration of independence last October.

Its Internal Affairs Division (DAI) last month issued a disciplinary notice against the officer, who is thought to have helped escort Puigdemont to the Belgian capital.

The officer has since been demoted from the special escort unit.

He had taken leave to go to Brussels, using overtime hours he had accumulated.

However, should he decide to return he is likely to be given civil protection duties and could face further sanctions, although it is currently not known what his punishment might be.