Catalonia’s parliament is due to sit today for the first time since it was dissolved in the wake of its unilateral declaration of independence last October.
The region’s two largest pro-independence parties have agreed to nominate sacked regional leader Carles Puigdemont for president, despite his self-imposed exile in Belgium.
Mr Puigdemont fled to Brussels in October after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy fired him as Catalonia’s leader for declaring an independent republic following an illegal referendum.
He faces arrest and possibly decades in jail if he returns to Spain.
The parliament is also meeting to choose the committee that rules its day-to-day activities. A new leader could be voted in by parliament as early as 31 January.
Its advisory body said in a non-binding report on Monday that parliament’s rules allowed a president to be appointed without them being present only in the event of “hospitalization, serious illness or an extended disability”.
Any other reason would require a legal reform to parliament’s laws, it said.
The central government in Madrid has warned it will maintain direct control over Catalonia if Mr Puigdemont attempts to govern from Belgium.