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>> The sacked ex-leader, Carles Puigdemont, has handed himself in to Belgian police. He faces an arrest warrant by Spain for rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, disobedience and breach of trust relating to the Catalan independence campaign. Puigdemont and four of his associates traveled to Belgium, shortly after Madrid took control of Catalonia after the region declared independence.
Spain's Prime Minister called an election on the 21st of December after firing the previous government. Puigdemont's Catalan Democratic Party announced on Sunday that he would lead the party in the votes. The Brussels prosecutor says the five wanted by Spain were taken into custody on Sunday. And a judge will decide whether to execute the EU arrest warrant on Monday morning.
In Barcelona, hundreds of protesters rallied for the release of eight other jailed former Catalan leaders, many chanting freedom. Heeding the calls of the organizers of the rally to plaster posters across Catalonia. Pro-secession sentiment rising, as a poll published in Spain's La Vanguardia newspaper on Sunday showed that pro-independence parties would win most seats in the December 21st election.
But they may fall short of the majority needed to revive the campaign. The poll estimates three of the pro-independence parties would take between 66 and 69 seats in the 135 seat parliament. Catalonia's statehood push has tipped Spain into its worst political crisis since its return to democracy four decades ago.
Surging pro-independence sentiment in the region, has in turn kindled nationalism across the country.