January 22, 2018 / 10:53 AM / a year ago

Catalonia's ex-leader Puigdemont named candidate to lead region

Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont arrives in Copenhagen, Denmark January 22, 2018. Tariq Mikkel Khan/Scanpix Denmark via Reuters

MADRID (Reuters) - Catalonia’s former leader Carles Puigdemont is the first candidate whose name will be put to a vote in parliament to be the region’s president, the house’s speaker Roger Torrent said on Monday.

Puigdemont’s candidacy will be voted on no later than Jan 31.

While separatist parties had already said that Puigdemont was their candidate, Torrent’s announcement makes it official.

The Spanish government says Puigdemont cannot be elected Catalonia president again, or rule the region, because he is in self-imposed exile in Belgium and would not be physically present for the vote. His supporters say modern technology would allow him to rule remotely.

Reporting by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Paul Day

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