Jordi Turull’s bid for president rejected in Parliament

  • Second vote to be held on Saturday but candidate might be jailed today

VilaWeb / Catalan News Agency
23.03.2018 - 10:55
Actualització: 23.03.2018 - 10:56

Jordi Turull’s bid for president was rejected in the Catalan Parliament yesterday. His candidacy only got 64 supports, with 65 votes against and 4 abstentions. On Saturday a second round of votes will be held, but chances Turull is successful are slim. The far-left and pro-independence CUP party should change its abstentions within 48 hours, but its spokesman did not look willing to change their position. “We will be in opposition if what you suggest is going back to a regional model” said Carles Riera.

Yet it is not clear whether Turull will be able to attend the second round of votes for his investiture on Saturday at 10am. The Spanish Supreme Court summoned him to appear in court today morning and the judge could send him back in prison.

Failed plan

Few hours after knowing about the hearings, the mainstream pro-independence parties agreed on holding an investiture debate before the court session, aiming for the judge to have a harder time in deciding whether to send Turull to prison. The symbolism of a Spanish court incarcerating an elected president would have been remarkable, with only one precedent –in dictator Franco’s time. The Parliament speaker collaborated and convened the plenary session for 5pm. But one detail was missing: the majority to swear in the new candidate, Jordi Turull.

The CUP spent the whole day in talks with the other pro-independence parties and barely 30 minutes before the plenary session announced it would not support the bid, thus ruining the plans of Turull’s party, Junts per Catalunya, and Esquerra.

Opposition criticizes Turull

Meanwhile, the unionist parties spent the day criticizing the hastily convened session, and highlighted it in the session. With Jordi Turull avoiding mentioning plans to implement independence –he may well be sent back to jail if the judge considers there is “risk of repeated offense”–, the opposition pointed out that his discourse was being “inconsistent” with what he defended in the past term and the peak of the clash between Catalonia and Spain clash. What Turull did highlight is Spain’s “repression” during the October 1 vote.

Deadline set for May 22

After this session, Catalonia has no president yet. Yet the parliamentary debate has been relevant because a deadline to appoint a new Catalan leader has now been set for May 22. This two-month deadline comes after the first investiture debate following the December 21 election, which means two months from today. If no candidate is elected in this time, a snap election will automatically be called for 54 days afterwards. That is mid-July. It would be the first time in democracy in Catalonia that an election is repeated.

For three months, the two-month clock had not begun counting down, as the Parliament had still not held a debate to pick a president. The deadline for such a session should have expired on January 31, but it was twice delayed because the Spanish courts blocked two candidates nominated for the post. Thus, the deadline could not be set until this Thursday.


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