Carles Puigdemont turns himself in to Belgian police

05 11 17

The ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four associates have turned themselves in to Belgian police, the Brussels prosecutor’s office has said.

Spain has issued an arrest warrant for the region’s former president, who is wanted by Madrid for actions related to his push for secession from Spain.

Puigdemont travelled to Belgium shortly after Madrid took control of the region and now faces charges for rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, disobedience and breach of trust relating to the secessionist campaign.

On Saturday, Puigdemont called for a united Catalan political front in the face of forthcoming elections. On Thursday, nine members of his sacked cabinet were ordered by Spain’s high court to be held on remand pending an investigation and potential trial.

Puigdemont’s latest move comes as two polls suggested pro-Catalonia independence parties would together take the most seats in December’s regional election although they may fall just short of a majority needed to revive the secession campaign.

Parties supporting Catalonia remaining part of Spain would divide seats but garner around 54% of the vote, the polls suggested.

Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, called the election for 21 December after firing the previous government and imposing direct rule over the autonomous region following a unilateral declaration of independence by Catalan lawmakers on 27 October.

According to a survey of 1,233 people published in La Vanguardia newspaper, pro-independence parties ERC, PDECat and CUP would take between 66 and 69 seats in the 135-seat parliament.

A second poll for the conservative newspaper La Razón showed pro-independence parties would capture the most votes though still fall just shy of a parliamentary majority with 65 seats.

Other seats would be generally divided between parties supporting the region continuing to be part of Spain, but the parties are not allied.

Catalonia’s push for independence has tipped Spain into its worst political crisis since its return to democracy four decades ago, as surging pro-secession sentiment in the region has in turn kindled nationalism across the country.

SOURCE: The Guardian


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