Cata­lan Par­lia­ment post­pones re-elec­tion of fugi­tive leader


BARCELONA: Cat­alo­nia’s Par­lia­ment speaker on Tues­day post­poned a ses­sion in­tended to re-elect the re­gion’s fugi­tive ex-pres­i­dent, say­ing the planned meet­ing would not take place un­til there were guar­an­tees Span­ish au­thor­i­ties “won’t in­ter­fere.”

The de­ci­sion comes af­ter Spain’s top court ruled Satur­day that Car­les Puigde­mont, who has fled to Bel­gium and faces ar­rest if he re­turns, could only be re-elected if phys­i­cally present in the Par­lia­ment in Barcelona. The court also or­dered that he must ob­tain per­mis­sion to ap­pear at Par­lia­ment from the judge in­ves­ti­gat­ing him over Cat­alo­nia’s in­de­pen­dence bid.

Puigde­mont is one of more than a dozen Cata­lan po­lit­i­cal fig­ures fac­ing pos­si­ble re­bel­lion and sedi­tion charges fol­low­ing the pre­vi­ous Par­lia­ment’s il­le­gal and un­suc­cess­ful dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence in Oc­to­ber, which brought Spain’s worst po­lit­i­cal cri­sis in decades to a head.

The de­ci­sion leaves the fu­ture gov­ern­ment of the pros­per­ous re­gion in some­thing of a limbo.

Spain seized con­trol of the re­gion by fir­ing Puigde­mont and his gov­ern­ment and dis­solv­ing Par­lia­ment fol­low­ing the in­de­pen­dence dec­la­ra­tion. It says it will keep con­trol un­til a new gov­ern­ment takes of­fice fol­low­ing elec­tions held Dec. 21. The Par­lia­ment was ini­tially sched­uled to have a first in­vesti­ture vote by Wed­nes­day.

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