The court must decide within 15 days whether the European arrest warrant issued by the Spanish government shall be executed, after which there are series of avenues for appeal for the five politicians to take.

From arrest to extradition, the entire process could take up to three months to complete, including time for likely appeals.

Such a delay would give Puigdemont the opportunity to participate in the snap regional election called by Spain's government for Catalonia on 21 December.

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