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Sacked Catalonia leader, four associates turn themselves in

BRUSSELS Sacked Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemont and four associates turned themselves in to Belgian police yesterday, the Brussels prosecutor's office said, after Spain issueda European arrest warrant.

He is wanted by Madrid for actions related to his push for the region's secession from Spain.

Mr Puigdemont's move comes as two polls suggested pro-Catalonia independence parties will together take the most seats in next month's regional election although they may fall just short of a majority needed to revive the secession campaign.

Parties supporting Catalonia remaining part of Spain would divide seats but garner around 54 per cent of the vote, the polls suggested.

Mr Puigdemont travelled to Belgium shortly after Madrid took control and now faces charges for rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, disobedience and breach of trust relating to the campaign.

On Saturday, Mr Puigdemont - who his party PDeCAT said yesterday would lead the party in the Dec 21 election - called for a united Catalan political front in the face of the election.

Nine members of his sacked Cabinet were ordered by Spain's High Court to be held on remand pending an investigation and potential trial. The international community is largely supportive of Madrid. - REUTERS

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