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Ex-Catalan leader ponders re-election, awaits word on arrest

Ex-Catalan leader ponders re-election, awaits word on arrest”

Spanish judge is deliberating Friday on whether to issue an global arrest warrant for Catalonia's ousted leader a day after she jailed nine former members of the region's separatist government.

Also on Friday, the Spanish national court rejected the appeal of the leaders of pro-Catalan independence groups, Omnium Cultural and the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), against the decision taken by Judge Lamela to remand them in custody without bail, pending investigation on charges of sedition.

If an arrest warrant is issued, Puigdemont will fight extradition to Spain without seeking political asylum, according to his Belgian lawyer.

Thousands protested in Catalonia on Thursday after eight regional ministers were jailed and accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds - as the constitutional crisis in Spain continues.

Mr Puigdemont, 54, told Belgium television that he wanted to appear "before the true Justice (of Belgium), not before the Spanish". "It's not with a government in prison that these elections are going to be neutral, independent, normal".

'FC Barcelona does not consider actions like these to contribute to the building of paths towards dialogue and respect that we as a club have always defended'.

On Friday, the judge ordered the release of Santi Vila, the former regional minister for business, after he posted bail of 50,000 euros (about $58,000).

Spain's state prosecutor had requested a European arrest warrant for the region's ousted leader, Carles Puigdemont, and four others over their role in a disputed independence referendum.

Belgium will have a maximum of three months to decide whether to send Puigdemont back to Spain.

An opinion poll published on Tuesday showed Junts Pel Si would win the December election with 35.2 percent if the vote was held today and would likely reach a parliamentary majority if it stuck with its current pact with far-left party CUP.

"Some even mention the idea of a federal model so that regions can have more autonomy, including financially".



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