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>> Catalonia's newly elected parliament is meeting for its maiden session on Wednesday. But it's unlikely to be business as usual for the gathering in Barcelona. Ordinarily, one of the first tasks of the new regional lawmakers would be to appoint a new president. But Spain has already rejected suggestions that should be the ousted president and separatist leader, Carles Puigdemont.
He's still in self-imposed exile in Brussels, after fleeing the country in October. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy fired Puigdemont for declaring an independent republic following June's illegal referendum. He still faces arrest and possible jail time if he returns to Spain. That decision is in Puigdemont's hands, as Reuters' Julien Toyer explains.
>> Puigdemont will have to say within the next 10 days, by January 31st, whether he intends to come back to Spain, whether he intends to stay in Brussels. Whether he intends to become the next President of Catalonia, and how he plans to do it. It's actually a lot of answers in just a few days.
>> Rajoy this week described the idea Puigdemont could lead Catalonia from exile as absurd. He threatened to challenge any appearance from Brussels in the courts. And if Puigdemont were reelected, Madrid would simply continue to exercise direct rule. Last year's political crisis in Catalonia led to a exodus of companies from the economically important region.
December's elections returned a slim majority, two parties favoring independence. Raising the possibility of a renewed push for a split from Spain this year.