Spanish court forbids Catalonia's Puigdemont to lead from abroad
The Spanish Constitutional Court issued a ruling on Saturday evening which disallowed exile pro-independence politician Carles Puigdemont to assume the presidency of Catalonia.
Puigdemont, who had been in exile in Brussels since October, is wanted in Spain on charges of sedition and rebellion after declaring Catalan independence.
The court said in a statement that its 12 magistrates had decided unanimously "to preventively suspend the investiture of Puigdemont unless he appears in the (Catalan) parliament in person with prior judicial authorization".
"The debate and the votation for the investiture of Carles Puigdemont will not be able to be held through video conference nor by him delegating his vote," according to the ruling.
"The investiture of a candidate without the pertinent judicial authorization cannot go ahead," it read.
The 12 magistrates made the decision after a plenary session which lasted over seven hours.
Spanish media said there were intense debates on what resolutions they should adapt against the Catalan independence challenge.
The Spanish central government welcomed the ruling of the Constitutional Court.
Puigdemont is the only candidate for the Catalan regional presidency. The Spanish government challenged his appointment in the court on Friday, saying that a "fugitive" can't lead a regional parliament.