Plans by Catalan separatists to re-elect their region’s former president in absentia were blocked Wednesday by Spain’s Constitutional Court. The court agreed to consider the Spanish government’s challenge of a legal change approved by Catalonia’s separatist-dominated parliament that paved the way for Carles Puigdemont’s election while he fights extradition from Germany to Spain. By accepting the case, the court effectively ended Puigdemont’s chances of being re-elected to the post the Spanish government removed him from in October. A ruling will take months, but pro-independence parties in Catalonia need to elect a new chief by May 22 or risk the calling of a new election.
The government said its appeal also aims to ban regional Catalan cabinet meetings held via videoconference and with participants who might be outside Spain.
Separatist parties have said in recent days that they have time to come up with another candidate before the deadline.
Failure to form a new government could be disastrous for the pro-independence parties. So far, they have blamed central authorities in Madrid or judges for their frustrated efforts to elect a president while considering candidates who were either in jail or facing charges linked to the independence bid.