Sunday, 26 May, 2019

Catalan MPs choose fervent separatist as new leader

Catalans elect new separatist president Secessionist Torra chosen to lead Catalonia in end to power vacuum
Adrian Cunningham | 15 May, 2018, 22:59

The vote was blocked for just five weeks - nonetheless it continues to be unclear when Spain will raise its direct guideline over Catalonia.

But this time around, Torra only needed a simple majority to reach the presidency and in the process become the 131st president of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

Catalan separatists have inaugurated Quim Torra as president of the autonomous community, opening the way for the Spanish government to lift direct rule after six months of political deadlock.

Following Torra's election, Rajoy called for "understanding and harmony" but reiterated that Spanish law under the country's 1978 constitution would be "fulfilled".

Separatist parties won a slim majority in a December regional parliamentary election.

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But since then, the presidential candidates put forward by the separatist camp all fell flat as they were either in jail in Spain over their role in the secession bid or in self-exile.

The Spanish government removed Mr Puigdemont and his Cabinet from office after the regional parliament passed an illegal declaration of independence in October. Four other people have been in detention, and twenty five in complete face charges of rebellion, sedition and corruption.

Central authorities have been ruling Catalonia directly from Madrid since the regional government led by Mr Puigdemont relied on the results of an outlawed October 1 referendum to declare unilateral independence from Spain.

Torra, an outspoken Catalan nationalist, was hand-picked by Puigdemont, who is in Germany awaiting extradition to Spain on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds in an illegal referendum on independence held past year.

Ines Arrimadas, leader in Catalonia of the centrist, anti-independence Ciudadanos party, has branded Torra a mere "puppet" of Puigdemont.