DEPOSED Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has revealed how he will head a republican council from his exile in Brussels, while Jordi Sànchez, leader of the grassroots Catalan National Assembly (ANC), would be nominated as state president.

In a move seeking to end months of deadlock, the Catalan Parliament yesterday supported the legitimacy of Puigdemont as president but avoided the endorsement of its unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) last October.

It is thought the move could help break the impasse over direct rule imposed by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy following the declaration.

The parliament also condemned Article 155, the constitutional move Rajoy used to impose the unprecedented direct rule.

Speaking from Brussels last night, Puigdemont said he was presenting a complaint against Spain to the United Nations over alleged violations of fundamental rights.

“In the coming days I will summon the members of the Parliament of Catalonia to a solemn meeting to be able to promote the new stage and establish the Council of the Republic to lead the way towards effective independence and adhere to the interior and exterior of the country,” he said.

“A council in close collaboration with the government of the interior and with the debates, mobilisations and participation of Catalan society in order to culminate the constituent process, an indispensable element for setting republican values at the base of the new country.

“A team of international lawyers has filed a lawsuit against Spain at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in my name, for violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of Civil and Political Rights.

“These instruments expressly recognise the right to self-determination. And more specifically, they guarantee the right to political opinion and participation.”

Puigdemont added: “I hope that soon I can return to Catalonia as a free man and that our institutions also have the freedom to invest as president the candidate or candidate that most back.”

Pro-independence parties – Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia (JxCat), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) – were behind yesterday’s approved motion, which reminded MPs: “He is the legitimate candidate for the presidency of the Generalitat.”

JxCat had suggested the presidency in Catalonia could go to Sànchez, who has been held in Soto del Real prison without trial for four months facing allegations of rebellion and sedition.

Puigdemont supports the nomination of Sànchez, but Rajoy ridiculed both, saying that to become president: “You do not have to be in jail or have problems with justice.”

He also referred to the possibility of Catalonia having two governments as “demented”.

Spain’s Justice Minister, Rafael Catalá, said it was “difficult” to imagine a president “who is in prison and cannot exercise his functions”.

However, JxCat MP Quim Torra, told the Catalan Parliament: “Puigdemont is the 130th president of the Generalitat, which when it has not been repressed by Spain, has represented Catalonia.”