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Deposed Catalonia leader Puigdemont 'to stand in poll'

شعار Al Jazeera Al Jazeera 31/10/2017
Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont held at a news conference in Brussels [Olivier Hoslet/EPA-EFE] [EPA] © Provided by Al Jazeera Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont held at a news conference in Brussels [Olivier Hoslet/EPA-EFE] [EPA]

Deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said ousted Catalan officials will stand in the elections on December 21 and that they will respect the results, adding "they are a challenge".

The ousted regional president arrived at Brussels Press Club for news conference on Tuesday amid speculation he and his ministers would seek political asylum in Belgium, which he denied.

Puigdemont travelled to Brussels as Spanish officials on Monday sought to file charges against him and his ministers for rebellion and sedition against the government.

Spain's prosecutor said the Catalan officials should face the charges after they unilaterally declared independence of the Catalan region, going directly against directives from the federal government in Madrid.

Spain's federal government nullified the declaration and called new elections on December 21. 

The ousted leader said the charges are "groundless".

"When the Spanish government chose to peruse an aggressive course against us that may amount to up to 500 years of prison sentences, it was agreed unanimously on Friday that the [Catalan] government would give priority to our safety," Puigdemont said.

"They're asking for 30 years in jail for each of us. These charges show that the Spanish government have chosen the most belligerent path. We won't follow suit."

Al Jazeera's David Chater, reporting from Brussels, said officially Puigdemont and his ministers are not fugitives since legal proceedings in Spain have not yet been put in motion.

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