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Quim Torra becomes 131st Catalan president

Almost five months since December election, pro-independence majority sees head of government elected

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14 May 2018 01:28 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Catalonia has a new president. Quim Torra was appointed as the 131st President of Catalonia on Monday after a second round of voting in the Catalan chamber. Torra was elected as the new head of government with the votes of the pro-independence parties, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) and Esquerra Republicana (ERC). The four MPs from the Candidatura d'Unitat Popular (CUP) abstained, thereby allowing Torra’s election bid to succeed with a simple majority, after he failed to get an absolute majority of votes in the first round of voting on Saturday. The results were 66 votes in favor, 65 against and four abstentions. 

Before the voting, Torra addressed the chamber and called for a Catalan “republic for all”. “With the Republic, everyone will gain rights, no one will lose rights. The Republic is for everyone,” he said. The new president also referred to Catalan leaders in jail or exile and expressed sympathy for their relatives. He also praised civil servants for doing their jobs under the imposition of direct rule from Madrid, the lifting of which is a priority for his executive. Torra ended his speech by again offering unconditional talks with the Spanish government.

Torra’s appointment comes almost five months after the pro-independence parties held on to their majority in the Catalan chamber in the December 21 election. Yet, the process of appointing a president, thereby allowing the formation of a government, has been a rocky road. After failed bids to swear in deposed leader Carles Puigdemont and jailed MPs Jordi Sànchez (twice) and Jordi Turull, who was jailed before being able to attend the second round of his own investiture, Torra is the fourth candidate put forward for the post. This time the bid was a success because, unlike the other candidates, Torra is not involved in any legal proceedings.

Now, the parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, will notify the Spanish king by writing to officially inform him of Quim Torra's appointment. In the next few days, King Felipe VI will sign the appointment, and Torra will take his oath and form a government.

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