MADRID (Sputnik) — Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has called for a single list of Catalan independence supporters for regional elections slated for December 21, explaining that the "time has come for all democrats to unite". He also called for the freedom "of political prisoners," as the newspaper El Mundo said.
Puigdemont, along with four former Catalan ministers, are currently staying in Belgium. He was compelled to flee to Brussels after the Spanish authorities invoked Article 155 of the Constitution that imposed direct rule over Catalonia, following the region's unilateral proclamation of independence.
On October 27, the Catalan government adopted a resolution on the region's independence from Spain. The Spanish authorities, in response, dissolved the Catalan government and called a snap parliamentary election for December 21.
After the Catalan parliament voted in favor of secession from Spain last week following the contested independence referendum, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on the rebellious region, dissolved the parliament and removed Puigdemont and his Cabinet. However, the ousted Catalan leader refused to recognize the dismissal of the government and called for "democratic resistance" to direct rule by Madrid.