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Pro-independence candidate set to become next Catalan president

14 May 2018

Separatist allies announced Saturday they would try to have Puigdemont, now in Germany after being detained there in March on a European arrest warrant, re-appointed as president by next week after the regional parliament voted through reforms allowing him to take the role without being present.

If CUP abstains in the second vote, a simple majority will be enough to see Torra elected as the 131st leader of the region and bring an end to the central Spanish government control which has been in place in Catalonia since October 27, 2017.

The former Catalan president has called on the regional parliament to elect his party's deputy to lead the legislature.

Catalan politicians must pick a leader to form a government by May 22 to avert further elections, following a stand-off during which separatist politicians put forward candidates who were blocked by the courts for being either overseas or in jail, among them Mr Puigdemont.

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What happens next? Regional lawmakers must vote in favor of Torra's candidacy.

Backing unilateral independence over the negotiated exit favoured by larger separatist parties, the CUP has previously broken ranks with the pro-independence block.

They now have just ten days to form a government or face holding a new election. A new election is likely to return similar results to the last, a poll showed on Friday.

Torra is a newcomer to politics.

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Separatists won regional elections in December, but fresh polls will be triggered if a new leader is not elected by May 22.

"He is the most radical that Puigdemont could find and the only one who voluntarily accepted to be the puppet of Mr. Puigdemont", she told reporters.

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

But a German court rejected extraditing him on that charge, judging that rebellion implies violence, and ruling that Puigdemont was not personally involved in violent acts during the referendum.

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Pro-independence candidate set to become next Catalan president