The Latest: Session to re-election Puigdemont postponed

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The Latest: Session to re-election Puigdemont postponed
Catalan police officers inspect a car at a check point outside the Catalonian Parliament, in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Lawmakers in the Catalan parliament are to hold the first investiture debate to elect a new government for the troubled Spanish region. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Catalonia (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

The speaker of Catalonia’s parliament has postponed a session intended to re-elect the Spanish region’s fugitive ex-president.

Roger Torrent announced the decision Tuesday, hours before the session he had called to hold a vote authorizing separatist leader Carles Puigdemont to form a government.

The decision comes after Spain’s top court had ruled Puigdemont, who faces arrest in Spain, would have to return from Belgium and ask a judge permission to attend the session.

Torrent says he will reconvene the session once Spanish authorities guarantee they “won’t interfere” in the election of Puigdemont.

Puigdemont is the focus of an investigation into October’s illegal— and unsuccessful— declaration of independence.

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10:15 a.m.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is urging the Catalan parliament not to press ahead with the candidacy of fugitive leader Carles Puigdemont for regional president and instead to opt for a lawmaker free of legal proceedings.

Speaking Tuesday on Spanish National Television hours before the parliament is scheduled to hold an investiture vote for Puigdemont, Rajoy said the parliament speaker will face legal consequences if he disobeys a Constitutional Court order saying Puigdemont can only be voted on if he is physically present and has previously obtained court permission.

Puigdemont faces arrest if he returns to Spain.

Rajoy said the “most sensible” thing for the parliament speaker would be to propose a “clean candidate” who is willing to obey the law and work for the return of normality in Catalonia.