Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Catalan lawmakers set to elect new hardline leader Quim Torra

Catalan lawmakers set to elect new hardline leader Quim Torra

The Catalan regional parliament is set to elect Quim Torra with a simple majority after the far left pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy (cup) agreed to not block the vote.

The deeply-divided Catalan parliament voted 66 in favour, 65 against and 4 abstentions for the election of Torra, a former lawyer and publisher with little political experience.

Quim Torra, the former leader of a pro-independence civil society group, has vowed to continue working toward an independent Catalan republic.

But, in a nod to the political balancing act that Mr Torra faces, he also welcomed the prospect of dialogue with Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister. Puigdemont is now fighting extradition from Germany after avoiding prosecution in Spain on rebellion and misuse of public funds charges. "From October 27, he will be able to call new elections".

Catalonia has been under direct control from Madrid since October, when the central government imposed direct rule after the regional chamber declared independence, following a vote on secession that Madrid and the courts deemed illegal.

Elections were held in December 2017, however no party won an overall majority.

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The party has a played a pivotal role in Catalonia's independence drive and is expected to pressure Mr. Torra to forge ahead with unilateral secession, despite the botched declaration of independence last October. He is a man of provocation, who has made clear he will pursue the divisive push for Catalan independence.

"The CUP will not block the formation of a new government", the party said.

During his investiture speech May 14, Torra promised additional investment in health care and education, and to raise the minimum wage, signaling that his government could try to focus on social and economic issues in addition to independence.

During that speech, he lambasted European institutions for their "unacceptable silence" over the Catalan crisis.

The Catalan Parliament on Monday elected the 55-year-old Deputy Kim Torr President of the regional government, reports El Pais, writes the Chronicle.info with reference to the UNN.

"In contrast, Puigdemont's strategy is to continue using every opportunity.to continue challenging the Spanish authorities and keep the secessionist momentum alive".

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