A Belgian judge has released ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four of his ministers under certain conditions after a hearing lasting more than ten hours. 

Mr Puigdemont, who faces charges of misuse of public funds, disobedience and breach of trust relating to the secessionist campaign, turned himself in to Belgian police earlier today.

The judge decided to grant the five people conditional release pending a ruling by a court on whether to execute the European arrest warrant issued by Spain, according to Belgian broadcaster VRT.

All are wanted by Madrid for actions related to the push for the region's secession from Spain.

Mr Puigdemont has become the public face of that move for independence, which has thrown Spain into a political crisis just as its economy recovered from a sharp downturn and banking stress.

Madrid has taken over administrative control in Catalonia, until then an autonomous region, and called new elections on 21 December.

Two polls released today suggested pro-Catalonia independence parties will together win December's regional election although they may fall just short of a majority of seats in parliament needed to revive the secession campaign.

Parties supporting Catalonia staying in Spain would divide seats but garner around 54% of the vote, the polls suggested.

Mr Puigdemont travelled to Belgium shortly after Madrid took control.

This morning, Mr Puigdemont and four of his former councillors presented themselves to police in Brussels.

Polls suggest pro-independence parties would get most votes 

According to a GAD3 survey of 1,233 people conducted between 30 October and 3 November and published in La Vanguardia newspaper, pro-independence parties ERC, PDeCAT and CUP could take between 66 and 69 seats in the 135-seat parliament.

A second poll taken over the same period for the conservative newspaper La Razon echoed the GAD3 survey, suggesting that pro-independence parties would capture the most votes though still fall just shy of a parliamentary majority with 65 seats.

Other seats would be generally divided between parties that support the region remaining as part of Spain, though they would run on separate tickets.

Voter participation, however, will rise to a record of 83%, the GAD3 poll suggested.

Under the European arrest warrant system, the five defendants in Belgium can agree to an extradition order immediately or the judge can set bail or detain them.

Belgian authorities have to inform their European counterparts if a European arrest warrant cannot be executed after 90 days.

Yesterday, Mr Puigdemont - who PDeCAT said would lead the party in the election - called for a united Catalan political front for independence from Spain and against the detention of his former members of government.

Last Thursday, nine of his sacked cabinet members were ordered by Spain's High Court to be held on remand pending an investigation and potential trial.

One member of the dismissed cabinet, Santi Vila, was freed after paying bail of €50,000 on Friday. The other eight could remain in custody for up to four years.

Catalan civic groups Asamblea Nacional Catalana and Omnium Cultural - whose leaders were imprisoned last month on sedition charges - called for a general strike on 8 November and a mass demonstration on 11 November to protest the detentions.

The Catalonia issue has sent shockwaves across Europe, energising regions with their own secessionist agenda while unnerving those fighting to keep the European Union from fracturing further.