Catalonia`s ex-leader Carles Puigdemont banned from European Union polls: Party

Carles Puigdemont

Carles Puigdemont

The ruling keeps Puigdemont and Toni Comín, who fled to Belgium, and Clara Ponsatí, who lives in the United Kingdom, out of the May 26 race to fill Spain's allotted seats at the parliament in Strasbourg. He faces arrest if he returns to Spain, with numerous other colleagues who stayed in Spain now in prison.

"We are challenging this decision, which is obviously unreasonable", his lawyer Stephane Handfield, who has appealed the decision in federal court, told AFP.

He said Puigdemont had requested and obtained an electronic authorisation (eTA) in February to travel to Canada, required for travellers from visa-exempt nations. "That he is akin to a terrorist or a member of organized crime".

Mathieu Genest, spokesman for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, said in an email that the government can not comment on specific cases.

But he said reasons that someone can be found to be inadmissible to Canada include "criminality, having a serious health problem (and) having lied in their application or during an interview".

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It also emerged on Monday that Puigdemont had been barred from entering Canada a month earlier, where he had been invited to visit by a Quebec separatist group.

The former Catalan president is considered a fugitive by the Spanish government.

Spain's central electoral commission, the JEC, ruled Monday that the three candidates were not eligible to run as candidates given that they were not registered as Spaniards living overseas, but that they were outside their own country "to escape the process of justice".

On October 1, 2017, Catalonia held an independence referendum that resulted in over 90 percent of voters backing the region's autonomy.

Spain's election authority, has excluded three Catalan politicians, including former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, from the lists for the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, Spanish People's Party Secretary-General Teodoro Garcia Egea said on Monday.

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