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Spain moves to block Puigdemont's election as Catalonia leader

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Catalonia's sacked leader Carles Puigdemont addresses a press conference after meeting with the speaker of the Catalan regional Parliament in Brussels on January 24, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Spain said Thursday it plans to challenge Carles Puigdemont's attempt to make a comeback as Catalan leader in court as he is wanted for his role in the region's failed independence drive.

Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium after the Catalan parliament declared independence, was earlier this week chosen as a candidate to lead Catalonia again after December elections saw separatist parties win an absolute majority.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy plans to "challenge in the Constitutional Court the decision by the (Catalan) parliament's speaker... in which he proposes lawmaker Carles Puigdemont as candidate for the regional presidency," Rajoy's deputy Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told reporters.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy holds his end-of-the-year press conference in Madrid on December 29, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

She added Rajoy had made a preliminary request to the state council, the government's advisory body, for a report into whether this was feasible before taking the matter to the court.

According to the Catalan parliament's legal experts, Puigdemont needs to be present at a parliamentary session due next week where he will officially be voted in.

But he faces arrest over his role in the bid to break from Spain if he comes back, and it is still unclear how he plans to take his post.

Read more:
Spain seeks new arrest warrant as Catalonia’s former leader lands in Denmark

"There is an arrest warrant against Mr. Puigdemont in Spain, so the first thing he should do in Spain is go to Spanish judicial authorities," said Saenz de Santamaria of the possibility that he would come back.

She added this meant he would not be able to be present at the upcoming parliamentary session.

(Source: AFP)

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