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Catalan lawmakers step closer to picking new regional leader

Catalan lawmakers step closer to picking new regional leader

He tapped Catalan lawmaker Quim Torra to take the helm, urging parliament to confirm him as regional president.

Catalonia's pro-independence parties risk an election being automatically triggered if they don't form a government by May 22.

Currently, the former head of the government of Catalonia Carles Pujdeme is located in Germany and has no right to leave its territory, reports the online edition of the Chronicle.info with reference to the Correspondent.

Catalonia's parliament will start debating Saturday on whether to appoint staunch independence supporter Quim Torra as regional president, after deposed leader Carles Puigdemont stepped aside from the running.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in an interview Thursday with television broadcaster Antena 3 that he was ready to "open a dialogue" with the regional government "in the framework of the law".

Catalonia has been without a president or government since a December regional election.

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Rajoy quickly responded to the speech, saying: "What we saw and heard did not please us. but we will judge his actions".

Spain's Constitutional Court on Wednesday accepted an appeal from the government that effectively blocked pro-independence politicians in Catalonia from voting in Puigdemont while he remains absent.

He also warned that under Article 155 of the constitution, which the government used to impose direct rule on Catalonia, "could be used again if necessary", if the next regional leadership did not respect the law.

All four previous candidates proposed by the pro-independence movement were blocked by the courts because they are either living overseas or being held in custody for their role in a referendum on independence. No date has been set for a vote in the Catalan parliament, where separatist parties have a slender majority. The Spanish legal system has charged Puigdemont and other separatist leaders with a range of offenses over their roles in the independence push.

Spain declared the 2017 referendum on the region's independence as illegal.


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