Last Update 12:34
Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Talks underway in Catalonia to pick regional leader

AFP , Thursday 18 Jan 2018
Catalan Parliament
Roger Torrent (C), new Speaker of Catalan parliament, poses with members of new parliament's Governing body at the end of the first session of Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain, January 17, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 2830
Share/Bookmark
Views: 2830

The new pro-independence speaker of Catalonia's parliament on Thursday started meeting party representatives to pick a regional president, with exiled former leader Carles Puigdemont in the lead for the post.

The central government in Madrid has already warned it will keep direct control over Catalonia if Puigdemont tries to govern from Belgium, where he and other ousted ministers fled after declaring independence from Spain in October.

On Wednesday, the region's separatist block regained control of the Catalan parliament following the assembly's dissolution on October 27 by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in response to the breakaway attempt.

Fresh from a victory in December elections that gave them an absolute majority in parliament, separatist lawmakers elected Roger Torrent of the left-wing, pro-independence ERC party as speaker.

Four out of seven of his deputies are also pro-independence.

Their next step is to regain control of the government with Puigdemont as their leader.

Torrent, 38, who gave a conciliatory first parliamentary speech on Wednesday, is holding talks with all the different assembly groups to designate the candidate with most support.

He was due to meet Thursday with the Socialists, who oppose independence, and Catalunya en Comu, the Catalan allies of far-left party Podemos, who are also against Puigdemont as candidate.

Puigdemont's Together for Catalonia list won the most votes in December within the separatist bloc, but he is in Brussels in self-imposed exile after escaping just days after the regional parliament declared independence.

He risks arrest on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for his role in the failed independence bid if he comes back to Spain.

He wants to present his candidacy and government programme to parliament -- a prerequisite to being voted in -- remotely via videolink or by having someone else read it for him.

The Catalan parliament's legal experts, however, say the contender has to be physically present and Madrid has vowed to block him.

But the final say lies in Torrent and his deputies, who will ultimately decide whether or not to allow it.

Last week, Torrent hinted that he would follow what the parliament's legal experts said.

But his ERC party has said it will support Puigdemont as president.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.