BARCELONA: A former Catalan separatist leader who is in jail for alleged rebellion pending a trial over the 2017 secession bid said today he will run for mayor of Barcelona.
In a tweet, Joaquim Forn said he had “taken the decision” to head up “a unifying, reliable and transversal” electoral list in Barcelona for municipal polls on May 26. The announcement comes as a trial against him and 11 other pro-independence leaders begins shortly over a failed attempt to separate the northeastern region of Catalonia from the rest of Spain in October 2017.
At the time, Forn was in charge of interior matters in the pro-independence executive of former regional president Carles Puigdemont, who fled Spain for Belgium. Prosecutors want Forn to be jailed for 16 years for rebellion and misuse of public funds. A councilor in Barcelona’s city hall for 18 years, Forn will head up the list of Puigdemont’s separatist party PDeCAT in the municipal elections.
His main rivals will be Ada Colau, the current left-wing mayor of Spain’s second biggest city, former French prime minister Manuel Valls who was born in Barcelona and Ernest Maragall for the separatist ERC party. Maragall is the brother of Barcelona’s ex-Socialist mayor Pasqual Maragall, still popular for his role in the city’s successful bid for the 1992 Olympics. In his statement, Forn said being in jail would not be a problem.
“I can’t accept that just because I am locked up I cannot set in motion the transformation project I have for Barcelona,” he said. This is not a first in Catalonia. In snap regional elections in December 2017, Catalonia’s former vice president Oriol Junqueras was an ERC candidate and campaigned from jail via various writings and speeches read by colleagues. He won a seat in the regional parliament as did other jailed separatists. Junqueras will also stand for European elections due on May 26, the same day as the municipal polls
He pres la decisió d'encapçalar una candidatura integradora, solvent i transversal per guanyar l'alcaldia de Barcelona. Vull liderar un projecte de transformació de la ciutat sòlid i rigorós per situar Barcelona, de nou, al centre de tot.
Llegiu la meva carta oberta: pic.twitter.com/aAPMjR450O
— Joaquim Forn (@quimforn) January 23, 2019
Delegation of French Senators on a 4-day visit to Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: In the framework of the bilateral relationship between France and Pakistan, a delegation of three French Senators will visit Pakistan between 24th and 27th April 2019.
The three Senators belong to the France-Pakistan inter-parliamentary friendship group. The delegation will be headed by Mr. Pascal Allizard, Senator of county of Calvados (Normandy) and Chairman of the France-Pakistan inter-parliamentary friendship group as well as vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee and will include Mrs. Gisèle Jourda, Senator of Aude county (Occitanie) and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mrs. Chantal Deseyne, Senator of Eure-et-Loir (Centre-Val-de-Loire) and member of the Social Affairs Committee.
This new visit, the fourth one for Senator Allizard and the second one for Senator Jourda, illustrates the noticeable interest of the Chairman of France-Pakistan inter-parliamentary friendship group and his fellow members for the country, its economic projects and integration in the region. Their visit is jointly organized by the Embassy of France in Pakistan and the Senate of Pakistan. During its stay, the delegation will travel to Islamabad, Karachi, and Gwadar. They will have meetings with Pakistani authorities as well as with representatives of the private sector that will certainly contribute to the deepening of bilateral contacts and relations between France and Pakistan.
Mr. Pascal ALLIZARD
Age : 56
Political party: Les Républicains (center-right)
He began as an industrial director in a firm specialized in mechanical equipment.
He was elected mayor of Condé-en-Normandie (county of Calvados, Normandy) in 1995 whilst maintaining strong relationships with the local economic and industrial sectors.
He was elected Senator in 2014 and became vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Since he is the chairman of the France-Pakistan interparliamentary friendship group and actively participated in its thriving.
He traveled three times in Pakistan and marked a fierce interest in all matters regarding economical and commercial partnerships between the two countries.
Mrs. Chantal DESEYNE
Age : 62
Political party: Les Républicains (center-right)
She is a local elected since 2001 and was elected Senator in 2014.
She is a member of the Social Affairs Committee and takes a special interest in all matters regarding drugs prohibition and regulation. She was her Committee special whig in 2016 for the Overseas French Territories Bill.
She is an active member of the France-Pakistan interparliamentary friendship group.
Mrs. Gisèle JOURDA
Age : 64
Political party: Parti Socialiste (center-left)
She became an early member of the Movement against Racism and for Friendship between peoples in her constituency. She had an active involvement in associations, especially regarding childhood and disabled people issues.
She became a Senator in 2014 and in a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. She produced a significant amount of reports and contributions, especially about the fight against terrorism.
Macron all set to announce reforms to contain Yellow Vest protests!
PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron will reveal his long-awaited response today (at 6 pm) to Yellow Vest manifestations in a reform plan that could prove decisive for his presidency and long-term political future.
Macron, 41, swept to power in 2017 on hopes he would be a youthful breath of fresh air for France. But since November he saw the momentum sucked out of his presidency by the weekly “yellow vest” protests against social inequality.
He is scheduled to hold a Presser in order to announce a series of reforms drawn up after a vast listening exercise he launched in response to the protests.
Macron is expected to announce reforms such as tax cuts for middle classes, as well as the abolition of the ENA administration school. He is expecting that such reforms, which could not be termed as revolutionary, would assuage the unrest.
Merkel pledges support to Ukraine after Zelensky win
BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday congratulated comedian Volodymyr Zelensky on his landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election, saying she hopes the vote will help stabilize the troubled country.
“I congratulate you on your election,” Merkel said in a statement. “The stabilization of Ukraine and a peaceful conflict resolution are as close to my heart as the implementation of central reforms of the judiciary, decentralization and the fight against corruption,” she said in a statement.
“The Federal government will continue to actively assist Ukraine in its right to sovereignty and territorial integration in the future.”
Merkel, who met incumbent Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko earlier this month in Berlin, added that she would welcome receiving Zelensky soon. Germany has been a key broker in the conflict between Kiev and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, negotiating with France the now moribund Minsk peace accords.
The war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and rebels backed by Moscow has claimed some 13,000 lives and rumbles on despite a series of periodic truce deals. The EU also has sanctions in force against Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.