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Carles Puigdemont arrives in Copenhagen
Image: picture-alliance/Ritzau Scanpix

Fugitive Catalan ex-leader called to form government

January 22, 2018

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has been put forward as new regional president while in exile from Spain. Earlier, a state prosecutor demanded that an EU warrant for Puigdemont's arrest be reinstated.


Puigdemont arrives in Copenhagen

Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan parliament, proposed on Monday that Carles Puigdemont be re-elected as the region’s president despite being in exile since a controversial independence referendum in October.

Earlier on Monday, Puigdemont landed in Denmark, prompting Spain's state prosecutor to demand the EU arrest warrant for the embattled former lawmaker be renewed.

But the court refused, saying in a statement that the decision to reactivate the arrest warrant would be postponed until the Catalan parliament was restored to normal activity.

Puigdemont arrived in Copenhagen from Belgium, where he has been living in exile with several ministers since declaring Catalan independence in October, sparking a constitutional crisis. 

Although a referendum on independence from Madrid ended in a victory for the secessionist camp, the vote was declared illegal beforehand by Spanish courts and turnout was well below half. The government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sacked Catalonia's leadership and called fresh elections, prompting Puigdemont's flight to Brussels.

Catalan separatists claim victory

Facing charges at home

In Spain, Pugidemont is facing charges of rebellion and sedition, but a judge withdrew the international arrest warrant against him in December, partly because the former president was expected to return to Catalonia to have his day in court.

Puigdemont was in Copenhagen for a conference, the first time he has left Belgium since fleeing there.

Puigdemont has expressed a wish to govern from exile, which according to Prime Minister Rajoy is illegal.

Danish authorities have not yet said whether they plan to turn Puigdemont over to Spanish officials.

es/rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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