07:32 GMT +316 October 2018
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    Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont speaks during a media conference in Brussels on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017

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

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    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

    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.

    Related:

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    Puigdemont Says to Keep Working on Catalan Independence Cause From Belgium
    Ex-Catalonia Leader Puigdemont Calls Rumors on Ties With Russia 'Fake News'
    German Court Rules to Cancel Puigdemont's Extradition to Spain
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    candidate, elections, New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia, Spain
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