Madrid orders Brussels reps to bar Puigdemont meeting | News | DW | 24.01.2018
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Madrid orders Brussels reps to bar Puigdemont meeting

Spain has ordered Catalonia's representative office in Brussels not to allow a meeting between sacked Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and the region's parliamentary speaker. Puigdemont is eyeing a return to office.

Madrid on Wednesday demanded that Catalonia's representative in Brussels not allow a meeting between the sacked regional president Carles Puigdemont and the speaker of the region's parliament, Roger Torrent, who traveled to Brussels to meet with Puigdemont.

"The representative of the Catalan government in Brussels has been instructed not to allow this meeting to take place in the building of the Catalan diplomatic mission," a source told the French news agency AFP before the meeting was due to take place.

Puigdemont was formally designated last week by Torrent — another separatist — as the candidate to lead the region again.

Puigdemont has said he would aim to run again for the position from which he was ousted in December by the Madrid government, if necessary from outside Spain.

His ouster followed elections in which the region's three pro-independence parties — JuntxCat, ERC and CUP — declared victory after winning 70 seats in the 135-seat parliament.

To be officially voted in at a parliamentary session due by the end of the month he must be physically present at the session.

But Madrid has warned it will move to block any attempt by him to govern remotely.

Roger Torrent, speaker of Catalan Parliament. Spanien Ernennung des Kandidaten für die Präsidentschaft Kataloniens (Reuters/A. Gea)

Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan Parliament

Puigdemont charged with rebellion, sedition

Madrid sacked Puigdemont and his entire government after the Catalan parliament declared unilateral independence in October. 

He is charged with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds and faces arrest if he returns to Spain. He has been living in Belgium in self-imposed exile since the end of October. A recent request to renew an international arrest warrant against Puigdemont was refused by a Spanish judge.

Puigdemont asked on Tuesday to return to Spain "without any risk" of being detained.

"My intention in the coming days is to contribute to restoring democracy in order to respect election results," he said.

jbh/es (AFP, EFE)

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