Ban on Catalan nationalists standing in Euro elections lifted by Madrid's supreme court
Spain's highest court has thrown out a ban on Catalonia's pro-independence former leader from standing in the European elections.
Electoral commission officials had said Carles Puigdemont and two other Catalan separatist politicians could not stand because they were not resident in Spain.
The decision is significant because it might allow Mr Puigdemont and his colleagues to ultimately return to Spain under the protection of European Parliament legal immunity.
They fled the country on charges of rebellion for their role in Catalonia's abortive October 2017 unilateral declaration of independence, which was declared illegal by Spanish courts.
The commission had originally imposed the ban after a complaint was raised by two right-of-centre parties.
But in a unanimous decision the supreme court in Madrid said contesting an election was a "fundamental right" protected by the constitution and fleeing the country could not make a person ineligible.
When he was selected as a candidate, Mr Puigdemont said: "It is time to take another step to internationalise the right to self-determination in Catalonia from the heart of Europe to the whole world."
He and two other politicians, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, are standing for the pro-independence Lliures per Europa list.