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Puigdemont Will Not Run in EU Elections as Flemish N-VA Party Candidate

© AP Photo / Virginia MayoOusted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont speaks during a media conference in Brussels on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017
Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont speaks during a media conference in Brussels on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 - Sputnik International
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has said that he will not run in the elections to the European Parliament next year as a candidate from the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA).

"No, of course not. I am fighting for Catalonia, I am here [in Belgium] only temporarily. I would return to Catalonia tomorrow if I could… I want to work for the freedom of my country, my struggle is there," Puigdemont told the Het Belang van Limburg newspaper when asked if he planned to run as the N-VA candidate.

Legally, Puigdemont could use this opportunity to participate in the European elections under the EU laws, which allow any citizen of a member state to vote or be a candidate in their country of residence.

READ MORE: Flemish N-VA Member, Puigdemont Could Be Cross-Candidatures in EU Vote — Source

President of the Catalan regional Government Carles Puigdemont leaves after a debate on the government's question of confidence at the Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona on September 29, 2016 - Sputnik International
Puigdemont Says to Keep Working on Catalan Independence Cause From Belgium
Belgian media reported in early August that Puigdemont could be offered an opportunity to run on the list of N-VA. Moreover, a prominent member of the Flemish party told Sputnik under the condition of anonymity that the N-VA might field a candidate on the list of a Catalan party linked to Puigdemont in exchange for his participation in the European elections as the N-VA candidate.

In Spain, the former Catalan president, who in August returned to Belgium from Germany, would risk being arrested on suspicion of rebellion and misuse of public funds. Nevertheless, Madrid removed a European warrant for the politician's arrest after a German court ruled that Puigdemont could be extradited to Spain on embezzlement charges but not over sedition.

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