20th September 2020
Pedro Sanchez and Quim Torra
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Pedro Sánchez, Quim Torra finally speak – and will meet in coming days

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, officially re-elected on Tuesday, has held a telephone conversation of approximately seven minutes with the Catalan president Quim Torra, and they will meet shortly after the new coalition government has been formed.

The telephone conversation was described as ‘cordial’, during which Sánchez told Torra that he wants to resume dialogue and that he has ‘the sincere will to try to settle the political conflict in Catalonia.’

Whilst Torra’s party, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), voted against Sánchez’s investiture, the main Catalan pro-independence party, Esquerra Republicana (ERC), agreed to abstain and secure his re-election, on the agreement to set up ‘bilateral negotiations’ in order to tackle the Catalan independence issue.

ALSO READ: Torra calls for ‘immediate meeting’ with Sánchez to engage in dialogue

The ERC-PSOE agreement sets out the creation of a bilateral negotiating table between the Spanish and Catalan governments up to 15 days after the formation of the Spanish government and states that ‘political means’ should be favoured whilst ‘overcoming the judicialization’ of the Catalan independence conflict.

Sanchez and Torra
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez welcoming Catalan President Quim Torra to Moncloa in Madrid on 9 July 2018. (Javier Soriano / AFP)

Last Friday, Spain’s Electoral Authority (JEC) ordered that Torra be disqualified from his post. The ruling follows Catalonia’s High Court of Justice finding him guilty of disobedience on 19 December.

ALSO READ: Spanish PM visits Barcelona, refusing to talk or meet with Catalan president

The disobedience is failing to remove signs in time that were in favour of the jailed Catalan leaders from the Catalan government’s headquarters during the electoral campaign, as ordered by the electoral authority.

Torra has said that he will not accept the order of disqualification and called the ruling a ‘coup d’état’, claiming that the JEC is exceeding its authority. Torra is already appealing the disobedience verdict at the Supreme Court.

ALSO READ: Governments exchange criticism after week’s protests leave 579 injured

 

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