Torra fails first vote to become new Catalonia leader

Quim Torra

Quim Torra

Torra's election by the regional parliament paves the way for a new government in Catalonia after months of political limbo. But it's unlikely he'll get along any better with Madrid than the last one.

Separatist parties won regional elections in December.

Torra is an MP from Puigdemont's pro-independence party, Together for Catalonia (JxCat).

Puigdemont's rejection of his appointment by the Catalan parliament last week raises the chances that his nominated successor, political new-comer Quim Torra, will secure the role.

He additionally vows to ascertain a constituent meeting to put in writing the structure for a Catalan republic.

Spanish authorities have warned that the national government could reassert its authority if the new regional government breaks the law again.

He told parliament he was "working tirelessly for the Catalan republic".

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The election of Quim Torra as regional leader will allow the wealthy region to run its own affairs for the first time since October, when Madrid imposed direct rule after sacking the previous administration after it declared independence. Both support Catalan independence.

The autonomous region of Catalonia held a referendum on independence on October 1, 2017, in which more than 90 percent of the 2.26 million Catalans who participated in the vote supported the region's secession from Spain.

Critics have also taken issue with Torra's writing.

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

"It's not natural at all to speak Spanish in Catalonia", Torra wrote in an opinion piece in 2012. "Spaniards only know how to plunder", he said in 2012 in a tweet he later deleted.

Torra has promised to draft a constitution for a future Catalan state. Spain's Supreme Court has indicted two dozen separatists, including Puigdemont, with charges that threaten some with up to 30 years in prison. Soon, the German court needs to decide whether to display Carles Pokdemon Spain. Another nine have been jailed pending trial. Torra's elevation to the post became a foregone conclusion after the Popular Unity Party - a radical far-left, pro-independence faction - said it would abstain from taking part in the investiture process in Catalonia's capital of Barcelona.

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