Future of Catalan crisis at stake as new parliament convenes

A new Catalan parliament is meeting following a foiled secession attempt last year and amid looming questions about the role that fugitive and jailed politicians will play in the chamber's separatist majority.

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium in October dodging a Spanish judicial probe over the illegal declaration of independence, wants to be reinstated in his old job.

He faces arrest if he returns to Catalonia, and legal hurdles if he wants to be voted in from afar by the regional assembly. Secessionist parties regained a slim parliamentary majority in elections last month that Spanish authorities had called hoping to solve the political crisis.

Lawmakers Wednesday choose the chamber's new speaker and governing committee, a key group that could interpret procedural rules to allow Puigdemont's candidacy from exile.