12:32 GMT +316 June 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

    Puigdemont to Run for Seat in EU Parliament - Junts per Catalunya Party

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    MADRID (Sputnik) – Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont will lead the list of Catalonia’s Junts per Catalunya (JuntsxCat) party in the upcoming European Parliament elections, the party said.

    "The [party’s candidate] list for Junts per Catalunya will be headed by chairman Puigdemont… [This is] the best way to bring to the international level the political conflict in Catalonia, so that Europe heard what is happening," Elsa Artadi, the party’s representative and a member of the Catalan government, told a press conference on Sunday.

    The elections to the European Parliament are set for May.

    READ MORE: Puigdemont Files Complaint Against EU Parl't President Over Body's "Censorship"

    On October 1, 2017, Catalonia held an independence referendum, which resulted in over 90 percent of voters backing the region's autonomy. Madrid refused to recognize its results, but this did not preclude the Catalan parliament from declaring independence on October 27 of that year. This prompted the Spanish government to dismiss the regional authorities and impose direct rule over Catalonia. When the new Catalan government led by President Quim Torra came to power in June, Madrid restored the region's autonomy.

    Puigdemont fled from Spain to Belgium in October 2017 to avoid rebellion and sedition charges after the referendum.

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