Carles Puigdemont could be re-elected as Catalonia's president

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The two main Catalan separatist parties Together for Catalonia (Junts per Catalonia - JpC) and the Republican Left (ERC) have reached an agreement that aims to see former Carles Puigdemont re-elected as leader of the region in northeast Spain.

The separatists' agreement is the first significant step toward forming a new government in the restive Spanish region following regional elections December 21.

Market-friendly Ciudadanos, which wants Catalonia to remain part of Spain and is led by Ines Arrimadas, gained the largest share of the popular vote but unionist parties did not win enough seats to govern by majority.

The result was a setback for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, who had called the election in the hope that voters would deliver a decisive blow to the secessionist movement.

However, the anti-independence party that won most votes in a December 21 regional election poured scorn on the plan as Puigdemont remains in self-imposed exile in Brussels and it said he would be a "hologram president".

The assembly has been convened for its first sitting on January 17 and how that issue and the question of Puigdemont's return as the region's leader are eventually resolved are still to therefore be decided.

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He faces charges of sedition, rebellion, disobedience and misuse of public funds in Spain in the wake of the independence referendum on October 1st and the unilateral declaration of independence in the region on October 27th.

Former Catalan president Artur Mas gestures during a news conference to resign as PDeCat party president in Barcelona, Spain January 9, 2018.

The Catalan Parliament's lawyers are set to examine proposals for Mr Puigdemont to read his address via videolink from overseas or have another MP read the speech, according to Spanish media reports.

Some of Mr Pugidemont's political allies are in jail on similar charges, having been arrested as he fled. "You can't be president of Catalonia from Brussels by Skype", she said.

The other main potential candidate to represent the pro-independence parties would be ERC leader Oriol Junqueras, who is serving a custodial sentence in a Madrid jail.

Once the parliament is formed, potential leaders of the regional government will put themselves forward for a vote of confidence, although it could take months for a new government to emerge.

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