Torra fails first vote to become new Catalonia leader

Quim Torra

After almost five months of political deadlock following a failed attempt to secede from Spain, the country's northeastern autonomous region of Catalonia has a new premier that was handpicked by ousted nationalist leader Carles Puigdemont.

In the second round vote scheduled for Monday, only a simple majority will be required so Torra is expected to win the vote.

After several failed attempts to occupy this post the former head of the government of Catalonia Carles Pujdeme may 10, was named as his successor Torr and urged him "to build an independent country".

Ines Arrimadas, leader in Catalonia of the centrist, anti-independence Ciudadanos party, has branded Torra a mere "puppet" for Puigdemont.

Immediately after winning the vote, Torra said one of the goals of his new government would be to reinstate Puigdemont as "the legitimate president" of Catalonia.

The Catalan separatist movement has caused the worst political and institutional crisis in Spain in decades.

He was handpicked as a candidate by deposed leader Carles Puigdemont.

Torra failed to realize an absolute majority in a primary parliamentary vote on Saturday however he is anticipated to be elected on Monday by easy majority after an anti-capitalist separatist occasion introduced it might abstain.

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He also said a "Republican council" would be created overseas in parallel, presided by Puigdemont, as well as an assembly composed of local officials.

Mr Torra has been criticised by opponents for writing what some have called an inflammatory article in 2012, in which he said some Catalans from Spanish-speaking backgrounds were "animals in human form who spew out hate".

Central authorities have been ruling Catalonia straight from Madrid since an try and declare unilateral independence from Spain in late October.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he didn't like what he had heard during Monday's investiture debate in the Catalan assembly.

Catalonia is Spain's richest and most populous region, with 7.5 million people.

The unprecedented Spanish takeover is set to end when Torra is sworn in along with a new Catalan cabinet in the next few days, but Spanish authorities have warned that controls could return if the new regional government breaks the law again.

Spain's Constitutional Court suspended a law that would have allowed self-exiled leader Puigdemont to be considered in absentia.

For Oriol Bartomeus, political analyst at Barcelona Autonomous University, what is in sight is "a divided government - there could be fallout".

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