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Pujdeme refused to run for the presidency of Catalonia

14 May 2018

The speaker of the Catalan parliament Roger Torrent said in a statement on Friday he had proposed Torra as a candidate to be regional president after consulting with political parties, and the parliament would vote on the appointment on Saturday. In the event, pro-independence parties retained their slim majority in the Catalan parliament and a new government will have to decide whether to pursue another collision course with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Spain's Constitutional Court on Wednesday accepted an appeal from the government that effectively blocked pro-independence politicians in Catalonia from voting in Puigdemont while he remains absent.

Addressing the Catalan parliament on Saturday, Mr Torra, a staunch supporter of secession, vowed to work towards a Catalan republic and referred to Mr Puigdemont as the legitimate leader of the region.

The former head of Catalonia Carles Pujdeme suggested instead another candidate for the presidency of the regional government.

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If he does not get this backing, a simple majority in a second vote 48 hours later, on Monday, will be sufficient under Spanish electoral law.

If a president is not sworn in by May 22 a new election will be triggered.

He was handpicked by the deposed former president, Carles Puigdemont, regarded by secessionists as the rightful leader but now in Germany facing extradition proceedings on rebellion charges.

There he specialised in reviving texts by Catalan journalists from the civil war and Francisco Franco's dictatorship, which severely repressed Catalonia among other regions.

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The Spanish government said Mr Torra's speech was "confrontational".

Puigdemont, who first fled to Belgium, was detained in Germany in March after Spain issued a European arrest warrant against him.

A German court last month dismissed the extradition request for Puigdemont on the rebellion allegations and released him on bail.

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Pujdeme refused to run for the presidency of Catalonia