Spanish court suspends Puigdemont's return to power in Catalonia

Howard TerryJan 28, 2018

Mr Puigdemont is the only candidate for the Catalonian presidency.

Spain's government has taken a first step towards preventing the election of ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont as head of the Spanish region, the deputy prime minister said on Thursday as tensions rose again between Madrid and Barcelona.

"We have consulted many experts, and we see that this recourse is possible", Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said.

Earlier, Catalan Parliament speaker Roger Torrent said that he would propose Puigdemont as a candidate for the position of the head of the Catalan government. The council's decision, although not binding, alarmed Rajoy, who didn't expect the setback.

Puigdemont has been living in self-imposed exile in Brussels since the Madrid government dismissed him as Catalan president in October for spearheading the campaign to split from Spain which culminated in a declaration of independence by the regional parliament.

This despite the fact that he faces arrest for rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds over his attempt to break Catalonia from Spain as soon as he returns to the country.

Last year, the Spanish government dissolved the Catalan Parliament after the legislative body declared its independence and called for snap elections in the region.

The separatist leader fled Spain after the regional parliament made an unsuccessful declaration of independence on October 27 in violation of Spain's Constitution.

She said the government had asked the council of state to give its opinion on the possibility of appealing against the Catalan parliament speaker's nomination of Puigdemont to the constitutional court. Puigdemont has insisted that his goal is to "restore" his government, and even a short-lived return to power by him would be a huge embarrassment for Rajoy.

The Spanish government, however, has contested that a "fugitive" can not lead a regional parliament.

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