Spain’s top court has upheld a decision to ban Catalonia’s separatist leader, Quim Torra, from holding public office.
The case stems from Torra’s refusal to take down a pro-independence symbol from a government building ahead of last year’s general election.
He was found guilty of disobeying a court order to remove the banner, and will now be forced to stand down.
The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Torra’s 18-month ban triggered immediate calls for protests.
It is not yet clear when the ban will take effect, but Catalonia’s high court is expected to rule on this imminently.
The 57-year-old defended himself on the grounds of freedom of expression and had been appealing against an earlier verdict in a lower court, but the judges said he had defied a constitutional body and rejected his appeal.
It is believed deputy Catalan leader Pere Aragones will become the region’s acting head.
Torra, a staunch separatist, was elected in May 2018 as a relative newcomer to politics.