The former separatist leader Carles Puigdemont has announced he is ending his bid to become president of Catalonia.
Puigdemont faces arrest by Spanish authorities if he returns to be sworn in as president, following an independence referendum that was declared illegal by the Spanish courts and the suspension of Puigdemont’s regional government by Madrid in December.
Puigdemont has called on Catalan lawmakers to appoint activist Jordi Sanchez in his place.
However, says The Independent says the nomination of Sanchez is “likely to be just as fraught with difficulty” as Puigdemont’s fight to return to the presidency. Sanchez is in prison facing charges of sedition.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called on Catalonia to move quickly to end the political stand-off, which has been dragging on since December. He said a new leader for Catalonia “must be chosen now who is in Spain… and who has no problems with the law”.