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Vote to re-elect separatist leader Carles Puigdemont as Catalan president suspended

Catalan police officers stand guard at a check point outside the regional parliament, in Barcelona Picture by Manu Fernandez
By Associated Press Reporters

The speaker of Catalonia's parliament has postponed a session intended to re-elect the Spanish region's fugitive ex-president.

Roger Torrent announced the decision hours before the session he had called, with the aim of voting to authorise separatist leader Carles Puigdemont to form a government.

Central authorities in Spain have welcomed the decision. A spokeswoman said pressure applied by the government and the country's top court "prevented a mockery of our democracy".

The spokeswoman said: "The separatists know that they are obliged to comply with the law like other citizens."

Spain's Constitutional Court had ruled that Mr Puigdemont would have to return from Belgium, where he fled to dodge a Spanish court probe over an illegal independence declaration, in order to be re-elected as leader.

Mr Puigdemont would also need permission from a judge to attend an investiture session, the top court said.

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