'Reinstate me': Puigdemont
Ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has demanded Madrid reinstate his regional government, which was deposed after an independence referendum that Spanish courts judged illegal, as part of a political settlement.
"As president, I demand the Spanish government and those who support it... restore all they have expropriated from the Catalans without their say-so," Mr Puigdemont said from Brussels.
A solid showing by pro-independence parties in the December 21 poll strengthened the hand of the secessionists, albeit they did not capture a majority.
In a recorded message, Mr Puigdemont insisted he was still Catalonia's "legitimate" leader.
After the divisive regional elections, how the independence camp intends to rule remains a mystery, with other secessionist leaders, including Mr Puigdemont's former deputy Oriol Junqueras, behind bars pending trial.
"The ballot box has spoken," said Mr Puigdemont, who said he hoped the election outcome could kickstart moves towards "dialogue and negotiation".
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy last Friday denounced as "absurd" any idea Mr Puigdemont could govern from exile and Ines Arrimadas, regional head of the anti-independence Cuidadanos party, agreed.
"He believes he can be president via internet and WhatsApp," he said.