Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Catalan lawmakers step closer to picking new regional leader

Catalan lawmakers step closer to picking new regional leader

Separatist allies announced on 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.

The region has been in political limbo since Spain's conservative central government imposed direct rule on the region after it unilaterally declared independence in October.

Catalan separatists, however, say Puigdemont is their legitimate leader as his Together for Catalonia grouping received the most votes out of all separatist parties in the December elections.

The man the self-exiled Catalan leader has named as his preferred candidate to form a regional government is a dyed-in-the-wool independence advocate cut from the same cloth.

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However, the Deputy may count on success in the second session of Parliament, which will take place on Monday, may 14.

They were also accused of mobilising thousands of pro-independence supporters to prevent police from stopping the October 1 independence referendum from going ahead.

Separatist lawmakers changed regional laws Friday to allow Catalonia's president to be sworn in without being present.

If a president is not sworn in by May 22 a new election will be triggered.

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But since then, all candidates proposed by the separatist camp to lead Catalonia have fallen flat, as they are either overseas and wanted by Spain, or already in prison, charged with rebellion.

Catalan pro-independence parties failed on Saturday for a fourth time to elect a regional leader, 10 days before the deadline to form a government or hold a new election.

He soon made a name for himself in Catalan nationalist circles, joining various separatist organisations, including those that helped organise the huge rallies that eventually led to last year's independence push and subsequent political crisis.

One of the blocked candidates was Puigdemont himself, who is in Berlin waiting for a German court to rule on whether to extradite him to Spain on a charge of misuse of public funds.

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