ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Parliament of Catalonia elected Quim Torra as the regional leader on Monday, bringing about an end to direct months-long Spanish rule that Madrid imposed in response to Catalans’ referendum for independence late last year.
Torra, the 131st President of Generalitat (government) of Catalonia, is yet another fiercely pro-independence figure like his self-exiled predecessor Carles Puigdemont who led the quest for secession.
After the election victory of the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) camp’s in snap polls, Madrid threatened to prolong the direct rule and constitutionally block a comeback by Puigdemont should they re-elect him.
Despite JxCat’s hold on power in a divided house, they barely managed to install Torra, their deputy leader, into the office of president.
Of the lawmakers in the regional parliament, 66 voted in his favor while 65 opposed it and four others abstained, the Catalan daily La Vanguardia reported.
They were wearing yellow ribbons in solidarity of Catalan politicians imprisoned for organizing the independence referendum Madrid described as illegal.
Torra saluted Puigdemont and those in detention, promising to continue their path.
“Congratulations @QuimTorraiPla, the very Honorable President of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Culture and freedom, republic and democracy. All my affection and support, many many thanks! Long Live Catalonia!” Puigdemont responded on Twitter, tagging his successor’s account.
The former President remains in Berlin where Germany held him in custody for 10 days last month due to an arrest warrant with charges of sedition and rebellion the Spanish government has brought against him.
Despite a turnout lower than half of the voters, 92 percent opted for independence in the Oct. 1, 2017, referendum.
Spain then deposed its government. Four leading Catalan politicians who helped push the vote remain jailed in a Madrid prison.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany