MADRID – Spain's top court says that Catalonia's fugitive ex-president must return to the country and be present in the regional parliament to receive the authority to form a new government.
The Constitutional Court ruled Saturday that a session of Catalonia's parliament scheduled for Tuesday would be suspended if former leader Carles Puigdemont tries to be re-elected without being physically present in the chamber.
The court also said that Puigdemont must seek judicial authorization to attend the session.
Catalonia's separatist lawmakers have been considering voting Puigdemont back in as regional chief without him returning from Belgium. The separatist leader fled Spain after the regional parliament made an unsuccessful declaration of independence in October.
Spain is investigating Puigdemont for sedition. He is likely to be arrested if he goes back there.