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    Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont speaks during a media conference in Brussels on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017

    Puigdemont Says Prevented From Entering European Parliament After Securing Seat

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    MADRID (Sputnik) – Carles Puigdemont, the ex-government head of Spain’s Catalonia region, who had been elected a member of the European Parliament, said he had been prevented from entering the parliament building.

    The European Parliament elections were held last week. Three Catalan politicians, who have supported the notorious 2017 referendum on the region’s independence from Spain, have secured seats in the legislature.

    "The secretary general of the European Parliament has given instructions to prevent Oriol Junqueras, Toni Comin and me from taking any action as European parliamentarians. There are no legal foundations for this," Puigdemont wrote on Twitter late on Wednesday.

    The politician added that he and Comin had not been allowed to enter the parliament building because their names were "marked in grey" in the list.

    Both Puigdemont and Comin had fled Spain in the wake of the referendum which had been banned by the Spanish central authorities. Junqueras, in his turn, has been detained and is currently in jail.

    READ MORE: European Parliament Election: Traditional Parties Shattered in UK

    Under the existing law, European parliamentarians from Spain have to appear in Madrid for receiving the required documents and swearing on the constitution. The ceremony is currently scheduled for June 17. However, both Puigdemont and Comin are likely to face detention if they cross the country's border.

    In October 2017, the Catalan government, then headed by Puigdemont, held an independence vote in defiance of the policies of the central authorities, which doomed the referendum illegal. At the vote, over 90 percent of the voters supported Catalonia’s secession from Spain, after which Madrid dissolved the regional parliament and introduced the direct rule over the region.

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    European Parliament, European Union, Oriol Junqueras, Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia, Spain
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