10:33 GMT +323 May 2019
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    Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, center, stands with elected Catalan lawmakers of his Together for Catalonia party at a park in Brussels

    Catalan Ex-Head Says Able to Run Regional Gov't Via Internet if Re-elected

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    MADRID (Sputnik) – Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is in self-imposed exile in Belgium, said on Friday that he would be able to run the new regional government remotely with the help of online services.

    "Today, big projects are run via new technologies … There is nothing in the parliament’s regulations banning the scheme… which we are now considering," Puigdemont said, speaking about the possibility to head the government remotely.

    The former president pointed out that he would not be able to run the government if he returns to Catalonia, since he would be arrested by Spanish authorities.

    "Obviously, one cannot head the government if detained. One can do nothing in prison. I can work here and protect the dignity of our institutions," Puigdemont said.

    He noted that he had every right to be re-elected as head of the Catalan government, adding that he had not given up the idea of achieving Catalan independence.

    "I do not lose a hope to change everything. Why should we give up? I cannot accept [defeat], people voted [for secession]," the politician added.

    READ MORE: Catalan Parliament Head Calls for Putting End to Madrid's Direct Rule in Region

    The Catalan parliament is expected to hold a vote to approve the region's new leader on January 31. Catalonia’s two pro-independence parties — Together for Catalonia and the Republican Left of Catalonia — stated earlier in January that they would support Puigdemont's return to the post.

    Puigdemont fled to Belgium, while several ministers of the former Catalan government were arrested after Madrid had imposed direct rule over the autonomous region and dismissed its government, following the October 1 independence referendum, where the vast majority of voters backed secession.

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    Ex-Vice President of Catalan Gov't to Remain in Custody - Supreme Court
    Spanish PM Calls Idea of Appointing Puigdemont Catalan Government Head Absurd
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