In brief

Quim Torra elected new Catalan president

Leader announces constituent process to build independent republic

Quim Torra at the Catalan Parliament just after the vote.
Quim Torra at the Catalan Parliament just after the vote. Autor/a: Miquel González de la Fuente
Quim Torra (Together for Catalonia) has today been elected the 131st president of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan government) by the Catalan Parliament. Torra has received votes for from his own group (34 seats) and Republican Left (ERC, 32), both of them pro-independence parties. All the parties opposing the current Catalan bid for independence have voted against: Citizens (36), the Socialist Party (PSC, 17), Catalonia in Common (8) and Popular Party (PP, 4). Pro-independence CUP (4) has abstained.

Torra replaces Carles Puigdemont, who continues to live in exile in Germany after the Spanish judiciary is seeking to try him over rebellion charges after the Catalan Parliament declared the independence of Catalonia 27 October. Independence was not implemented and Catalan autonomy was suspended by the Spanish authorities.

In a speech before the Parliament installed him, Torra has said that his tenure will be “interim” until Puigdemont can be returned to office. The new president —who is seen as a hardline nationalist by opposition parties, which is denied by the pro-independence majority backing him— has vowed that his cabinet will be loyal to the mandate of the 1 October referendum “to build an independent state in the form of a republic”. He has announced he intends to launch a constituent process from which a draft Constitution will emerge, and has also said that a Council of the Republic in exile and assembly of elected representatives in Catalonia will be created.