In Brief

Catalonia delays vote to re-elect Carles Puigdemont as president

Postponement causes ‘schism’ in separatist movement

Catalonia called off a parliamentary vote to elect a new president today amid confusion about the eligibility of exiled leader Carles Puigdemont.

Puigdemont has been in Brussels since October, when a push to declare Catalonia’s independence from Spain saw national police deployed to the restive region - forcing separatist leaders to flee or face charges of sedition.

Catalonia’s parliamentary speaker, Roger Torrent, has dismissed Madrid’s call for a “clean” new candidate, reports Germany’s Deutsche Welle. But his decision to postpone the investiture debate has caused a “schism” in the separatist movement, says Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

Puigdemont’s party, Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia), accused Torrent, a member of the Catalan Republican Left, of acting unilaterally in postponing the parliamentary session.

If the Catalan parliament does try to appoint Puigdemont remotely, it will be in violation of the Spanish Constitution, says El Pais. Opposition groups in the chamber would be likely to boycott such a vote. Puigdemont could return to Spain and seek permission in the Supreme Court to attend the investiture vote, but it is a risky move that could land him in prison instead of parliament, the Spanish newspaper adds.

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