Catalonia separatists propose Carles Puigdemont as new president

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Catalan politicians are attempting to put forward former regional President Carles Puigdemont as a candidate for the region’s presidency, despite a European arrest warrant issued by Spain.

Puigdemont met with members of his Together For Catalonia, known by its Catalan acronym JxCat, in Berlin on Friday.

They proposed nominating Puigdemont, who could accept the presidential nomination from abroad thanks to a law recently passed in the regional Catalan parliament.

JxCat spokesperson Eduard Pujol said at a news conference on Friday that his party “wants to vote on the investiture” of Puigdemont, calling him “a legitimate president”.

Catalonia held snap polls in December, called by the Spanish government, to form a new parliament after separatists led by Puigdemont tried to secede the region from Spain.

Secessionist parties maintained their majority, continuing the struggle between the national and regional governments.

Catalonia must form a new government by May 22 or hold new elections. Four attempts to form a government have failed so far.

Puigdemont, who was dismissed by the Spanish government after declaring independence from Spain last October, is waiting on a German court to rule on a request by German prosecutors to extradite Puigdemont to Spain.

Spain assumed control of the breakaway region and has administered it since.

The Spanish Supreme Court reinstated European arrest warrants for Puigdemont and four other Catalan politicians.

The former Catalan president was apprehended by German authorities while travelling from Finland to Belgium, where he has lived since fleeing Spain after the independence declaration.

He was released from German prison on April 8 and is allowed to move freely throughout Germany until courts come to a decision on his extradition.

Spain has said it respects the German court’s decision but has repeatedly denied any possibility of Catalonia’s secession.

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