After a long process since the election of 21 December 2017, Quim Torra has finally been elected as new president of Catalonia today with 66 votes in favour  (JxCat and ERC), 4 abstentions (CUP) and 65 negative votes (Cs, PSC, CeC and PP).

Quim Torra has called for a “republic for everyone” in the parliamentary debate previous to the vote. In his presidential speech, the pro-independence MP said that “for the Spanish people and the Catalan people, freedom means republic.”

Torra’s words come after he came under fire for a series of old tweets and articles in which he criticized Spaniards, and which have been strongly condemned by the parties against independence. “I regret that some tweets taken out of context addressed to the Spanish government offended some people” Torra said on Monday, in his third apology in just a few days. “I truly regret it.”

Torra also called for self-reflection by parties on both sides in Catalonia. “Pro-independence politicians should have no problem in recognizing that we have not done some things right” he said. “But also those in favor of Catalonia being an autonomous community [within Spain] should do so: prison, exile, the persecution of citizens for their ideas, the criminalization of civil and political rights are not acceptable.”

Recovering laws suspended by Constitutional Court

In his presidential speech, Torra said that one of his priorities as head of government will be to again put forth 16 laws suspended by Spain’s Constitutional Court, such as those against climate change, energy poverty, and ensuring gender equality.

“Some of these laws were approved by unanimity, even with the support of [the Catalan branch of Spain’s ruling] People’s Party, which was not enough to prevent the Spanish government from running over them like a bulldozer and suspending them” said Torra.

Raise minimum salary

In the field of economics, Torra promised to set the minimum salary at 1,110 euros a month and boost government business offices abroad to help the internationalization of Catalan companies and attract more foreign investment, among other measures. “Industry 4.0 and a circular economy are key to the future development of our economy,” he said.

“Reverse the damage of Article 155”

Torra also referred to Article 155, the constitutional device triggered by the Spanish government last October to suspend self-rule in Catalonia, following a declaration of independence. “I want to thank all civil servants of the Catalan government who, in recent months, have had to fight against the negative effects of Article 155,” said Torra, emphasizing that one of his priorities will be to “immediately reverse the damage” caused by Madrid’s direct rule in Catalonia’s own police body, the Mossos d’Esquadra.

 

More info:

Analysis:  What lies behind the election of a provisional president in Catalonia?

Portrait:  Quim Torra, the man who didn’t hold back

 

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