Catalonia crisis: Arrest warrant expected for Carles Puigdemont

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Prosecutors had asked Investigative Magistrate Carmen Lamela to order the immediate detention of Puigdemont and four of his ex-ministers, who ignored court summonses to appear for questioning on Thursday over their role in an independence referendum.

The Spanish government does not recognize the move and has made a decision to impose direct rule on the region, further ordering nine former ministers of Catalonia to be remanded in custody pending trial in connection with the independence initiative.

"The judge will hear the people this afternoon".

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Earlier, Belgian justice minister Koen Geens said his government would have no influence over the future of Mr Puigdemont or the four other Catalan officials because the European Arrest Warrants issued by Spain are "a completely legal procedure". He said if they are arrested then they will be sent to jail as the extradition process continues. "It's not with a government in jail that the elections will be neutral, independent, normal".

Puigdemont had said he would only return to Spain if he was assured of being given a fair trial. The next day, Spain's central government used the extraordinary constitutional powers to fire Catalonia's government, take charge of its administrations, dissolve its parliament and call the December election.

A Spanish national court issued European Arrest Warrants for the five separatist politicians on suspicion of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement on Friday. The ninth spent a night behind bars before posting bail and being released.

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While pro-union parties try to rally support to win back control of the regional parliament in Barcelona, pro-secession parties are debating whether or not to form one grand coalition for the upcoming ballot.

He has said he wanted to stand as the leading candidate for Puigdemont's PdeCat (Catalan Democratic party) in the regional election. The other eight could remain in custody for up to four years.

October 31: A Spanish judge orders Puigdemont and the rest of the ousted Catalan government to appear for questioning later in the week as part of a rebellion probe.

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Puigdemont married a fellow journalist, Marcela Topor, in 2000 and together they have two daughters.

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