Spains security forces are reinforcing the borders to prevent a possible surprise return by ousted pro-independence leader Carles Puigdemont ahead of next weeks crucial elections in Catalonia, it was reported on Thursday.
Mr Puigdemont is campaigning to be re-elected president from Belgium, where he fled with four cabinet members to avoid sedition and rebellion charges following Catalonias unilateral independence declaration in late October.
Despite facing arrest the moment he steps on to Spanish soil, Mr Puigdemont insists he will take office if he is victorious.
But he has also eyed the possibility of returning before the December 21 election a move which could boost his poll numbers to secure a win.
Faced with that prospect, the Interior Ministry is deploying extra security agents to points of entry, in particular the Spanish border with France, across which Mr Puigdemont made his dramatic escape.