14th June 2024
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Pro-independence parties retain speaker in new Catalan Parliament

Catalan pro-independence parties managed to retain the role of speaker in their region’s new parliament on Monday, despite losing their absolute majority in elections last month. ALSO READ: Catalan pro-independence parties lose majority, as PSC socialists win elections.

During the new parliament’s opening session, MPs elected Josep Rull (main image), a member of the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), which is headed by exiled former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

Rull was one of the Catalan politicians who spent more than three years behind bars over his role in a failed 2017 independence bid before being pardoned in June 2021. ALSO READ: Catalan leaders walk free from prison.

He was elected with 59 votes, beating his Catalan Socialists’ (PSC) rival by a wide margin in a second round of voting following a last-minute deal between JxCat, its more moderate separatist Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party and the hard-left CUP.

The role is an important strategic position as the speaker is charged with proposing the first candidate to try and piece together a new regional government.

Last month’s regional election was won by the Catalan branch (PSC) of Spain’s ruling PSOE socialists, which secured 42 of the regional parliament’s 135 seats, unseating the pro-independence parties for the first time in decades. ALSO READ: Pedro Sánchez: socialist win in Catalonia ‘ends decade of division and resentment’.

But the PSC leader Salvador Illa faces an uphill battle to piece together the support to reach the 68 mandates required to rule as ERC has ruled out any coalition deal with them.

Puigdemont – whose JxCat party came second with 35 seats – has also pledged to try and build a coalition although the pro-independence parties only secured 59 seats, meaning he too will struggle to pass the threshold. ALSO READ: Puigdemont will still seek to become Catalan president, despite ‘pro-Spain win’.

The Catalan Parliament must vote on a new government by 25 June at the latest. If no government is in place by 25 August, new elections will be called.

Puigdemont — who fled Spain to avoid prosecution over the botched 2017 independence bid — is due to return from years of self-imposed exile in the coming months thanks to the controversial Catalan amnesty law. ALSO READ: Controversial Catalan amnesty law gets final approval in Spanish Congress.

Click here for all our reports related to Catalan independence.

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