The Catalan parliament’s challenge to Madrid in its current move also signaled the possible return of sacked nationalist Carles Puigdemont as the region’s leader.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy fired Carles Puigdemont as Catalonia’s leader for declaring an independent republic following an ‘illegal’ referendum.
“I want to come back to Catalonia as soon as possible. I would like to come back right now. It would be good news for Spain.”
The separatist parties won a slim majority in parliament, a result that is expected to set the stage for return to power of the deposed Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.
The December 21 election was called by the Spanish Prime Minister in October, intending to return Catalonia to “normality”
under a unionist government.
The ballot will result in a hung parliament, with parties favouring unity with Spain tipped to gain a maximum of 62 seats and pro-secession factions 63.
Wearing yellow ribbons on their lapels to signify support, they filled the length of the Avenue Marina that runs from the beach to Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia church, while the jailed leaders’ families made speeches.
Puigdemont, who went to Belgium after his government was fired following a unilateral declaration of independence, said on Friday he was considering standing in the election from Brussels.
If Carles Puigdemont fails to answer the court summons, an arrest warrant could be issued that would make it virtually impossible for him to stand in a snap regional election called by the Spanish government for December 21.
A new regional election will be held in Catalonia on December 21.
The Catalan government accused Madrid of taking “political prisoners” and thousands of protesters gathered along Barcelona’s Diagonal Avenue to call for their release.
Spain’s Rajoy would probably call a snap regional election after activating Article 155 of the constitution that would allow him to sack the Catalan regional government.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont made only a symbolic declaration, claiming a mandate to launch secession but suspending any formal steps to that end.
The EU has shown no interest in an independent Catalonia, despite an appeal by Puigdemont for Brussels to mediate in the crisis.
The Catalan government says more than 90% of people who voted in an October 1 referendum voted in favour of independence from Spain.
Secessionist Catalan politicians have pledged to unilaterally declare independence at Monday’s session after Sunday’s referendum, banned by Madrid.
The court suspended the resolution, approved by the Catalan assembly in October, for five months from now, after which it could be made permanent or lifted.
The referendum poses a new headache for Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose conservative People’s Party has repeatedly refused to consider allowing one in Catalonia, which is home to about a sixth of the population.
The rally was scheduled to coincide with Catalonia’s national day ‘La Diada.’