Former Catalan leader facing arrest in Finland

Madrid accuses Catalan separatists of'foul play before vote

Madrid accuses Catalan separatists of'foul play before vote

The woman deputizing for the jailed Junqueras as leader of the pro-independence Catalan Republican Left (ERC) party, Marta Rovira, was also among those indicted, but failed to appear in court on Friday, saying in a letter that she too had made a decision to take "the path of exile".

In December, separatist lawmakers won 47.5 percent of the votes, but that was enough for them to keep their majority of parliamentary seats, under a system of proportional representation that favors their dominance in rural areas.

An abstention by lawmakers from the anti-capitalist CUP party left Turull with 64 votes when he needed 68.

The parliament is set to hold a second vote on Turull's candidacy within the next 48 hours.

Catalonia declared independence from Spain in October 2017 after a political back-and-forth between the regional and national governments. He did not mention the word "independence" and called for dialogue with the Spanish government.

Following the order many Catalan politicians fled Spain to avoid detention by the authorities. "Long live a Catalan Republic for all!", she said in a letter published in the Spanish media.

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Defiance still reigns in Catalonia, where the parliament has just suspended a vote to elect Jordi Turull as its new president.

Riera then deepened the divide within the separatist bloc by announcing that the CUP was breaking its alliance with the other two parties. "We are joining the opposition to continue our struggle with the state and to fight those who want to sustain the current regional model". In case a government is not formed within two months, another regional election will be held. Arrimadas accused them of worsening the political showdown with Spain.

Rajoy, speaking to reporters at an European Union summit in Brussels, declined to discuss the indictments but did criticize Rovira, though not by name: "I just want to say that we live in societies where we have to respect legal decisions and when a court summons us, we have to appear".

Former Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell, left, separatist politician Dolors Bassa, center and former Cabinet member Raul Romeva arrive at the Supreme Court in Madrid. They will be replaced by party members.

The Supreme Court had summoned five of the separatist leaders on Friday to rule on whether to remand them in custody as it opened the phase in the investigation that precedes a trial.

The top court ruled that there was still a risk that Joaquim Forn, the ousted Catalan Interior Minister, and Jordi Sanchez, the former president of the pro-independence civil rights group ANC, to repeat the offenses that landed them in jail.

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