Catalans Select new Pioneer Quim Torra

Catalans Select new Pioneer Quim Torra

Quim Torra has been elected as the new president of the Generalitat de Catalunya following a second round of voting at midday on Monday, after failing on Saturday to garner the absolute majority (70 votes) needed to be chosen in a first vote.

Following the vote, pro-independence lawmakers stood to sing the Catalan anthem.

Torra's election brings an end to the political paralysis that has persisted in Catalonia since fresh regional elections on December 21 yielded a parliamentary majority for a pro-independence coalition.

The smallest separatist party, the Popular Unity Candidacy, abstained to make it possible for Torra to take office, but it considered his predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, the only legitimate candidate.

Rajoy then dismissed the Catalan government and its head and called a snap Catalan parliamentary election.

Catalonia has been without an administration since December despite pro-independence parties winning most seats in a December election called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy after Puigdemont's secession attempt.

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He also vows to establish a constituent assembly to write the constitution for a Catalan republic.

Nonetheless, the CUP did warn that it would watch his tenure carefully for signs of it straying from the aims Mr Torra laid out in his investiture speech, which included offering a vision for a Catalan republic.

Torra was recently forced to apologise for discriminatory remarks expressed on Catalan nationalist social networks aimed at other Spaniards.

Torra faces divisions within the separatist camp, composed of the CUP, the leftwing ERC party and Puigdemont's Together for Catalonia grouping, according to Antonio Barroso, deputy research director at Teneo Intelligence.

Puigdemont, who was deposed by Madrid last October, was shown on Catalan television watching Torra's speech on a laptop from Germany where he awaits a court decision on whether to extradite him to Spain.

The Catalan region now finally has a leader after the Spanish government suspended the region's autonomy and sacked the Puigdmont's government in the wake of the October 2017 independence referendum, which was declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court. "Spaniards only know how to plunder", he said in 2012 in a tweet he later deleted.

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