Puigdemont sets his sights on forming Catalan govt

Spanish government refuses decision by sacked Catalonia leader to rule remotely

Spanish government refuses decision by sacked Catalonia leader to rule remotely

Mr Puigdemont, who has been in self-imposed exile in Belgium since the Spanish government introduced direct rule in his region in October, had announced last week that he planned to travel to Copenhagen for a conference on Catalan sovereignty.

"We will not surrender to authoritarianism despite Madrid's threats", he said during a debate on Catalonia at the University of Copenhagen. Madrid made the request following Puigdemont's first trip outside of Belgium.

His candidacy will be voted on by the end of the month.

Puigdemont risks being arrest on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds if he returns to Spain.

Rajoy and his ministers have said they would appeal to the courts and maintain Madrid's direct rule of Catalonia if Puigdemont was elected while overseas.

The Catalan parliament has not set a date for the investiture vote, but the deadline is January 31st.

Mr Torrent said Mr Puigdemont's candidacy to lead was "absolutely legitimate" despite the charges against him.

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Judge Pablo Llarena said the request was "reasonable" but refused to grant it, arguing it was important to wait until constitutional order had been restored in Catalonia.

A previous European arrest warrant issued by Spain was withdrawn in December, before a Belgian court decided whether or not to extradite Puigdemont and four of his former Cabinet members.

Catalonia's fugitive former leader, Carles Puigdemont, says new technologies would allow him to govern from Belgium, AP reports.

If they return they can stay another three months.

The Spanish government enacted the previously unused Article 155 of the constitution, which gives it the power to directly administer regions.

Puigdemont arrived in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, on Monday to talk at a university there and meet Danish lawmakers.

Puigdemont flew Monday to Copenhagen from Belgium, where he has been since fleeing a Spanish investigation into the Catalan parliament's secession declaration previous year.

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