Fugitive Catalan chief Puigdemont pledges to return to Spain if he can be restored to power

Carles Puigdemont, the former leader of the Spanish region of Catalonia who fled the country after a failed secession attempt six years ago, said Thursday that he will return to Spain if he has a viable chance to be restored as regional president following upcoming elections.

Puigdemont, 61, ran to Belgium after leading a 2017 breakaway bid that quickly collapsed and is still a wanted man in Spain. A contentious amnesty bill, crafted by Spain’s left-wing government to clear him and hundreds of other supporters of Catalan independence, is slowly making its way through the national Parliament.

“I will run in the next elections for the Catalan Parliament … now that I have the chance to restore my presidency,” Puigdemont said at a rally in Elna, France, near the Spanish border, when he announced his candidacy. “The countdown until my return begins today.”

“I believe Mr. Puigdemont is in a very sticky situation,” Mario Pereira, professor of law at the University of Navarra, told The Associated Press.


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