Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is running for the European Parliament elections to be held on May 26th, his political party announced on Sunday March 10th.
As the leading candidate of Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) political party, Puigdemont declared: "It is the moment to make another step to internationalize the self-determination right of Catalonia from Europe's heart to all the world," on his twitter account.
Living in self-imposed exile in Belgium, the Catalan leader fled Spain in October 2017 when Madrid imposed direct rule on Catalonia, which declared independence on the basis of a referendum deemed illegal by Spanish courts. Puigdemont, 56, who was Catalan president for about 22 months, faces charges of rebellion in Spain, and would be arrested if he returned to the country. He tried to run for president from Belgium in the December 2017 Catalan regional elections, but Spanish courts banned his attempt to assume office from outside the country.
Last July, Spanish courts lifted the European arrest warrants for Puigdemont, after a German court ruled that he could be extradited to Spain to face a separate charge of misuse of public funds, but not for the rebellion charge, something that Spain decided not to pursue.