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Quim Torra elected as new Catalan President

15 May 2018

The Catalan parliament looks set to retain its pro-independence majority, and with the potential appointment of Torra, will continue to seek a mandate for independence.

Germany's intelligence chief accused Russian Federation of seeking to destabilise Spain by backing separatists in Catalonia, as the region elected a new hardline president to lead its bid for independence.

The vote was blocked for just five weeks - nonetheless it continues to be unclear when Spain will raise its direct guideline over Catalonia.

Last week, in a widely circulated video on social media, Puigdemont renounced his candidacy for president and suggested Torra assume the post.

Elections were held in December 2017, however no party won an overall majority.

One possibility that Torra suggested would be to have the so-called Assembly of Elected Officials symbolically vote-in Puigdemont as a president-in-exile.

Rajoy then dismissed the Catalan government and its head and called a snap Catalan parliamentary election.

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But, in a nod to the political balancing act that Mr Torra faces, he also welcomed the prospect of dialogue with Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister.

Puigdemont, who was deposed by Madrid last October, was shown on Catalan television watching Torra's speech on a laptop from Germany where he awaits a court decision on whether to extradite him to Spain.

To achieve a simple majority of votes was not immediately apparent: the Torre elected at the second attempt, after the failed vote on may 12.

Catalan parliament has completed negotiations within parties to allow for the selection of a pro-independence candidate to assume presidency of Catalan parliament and end the emergency direct rule imposed by Madrid.

The 55-year-old father of three pledged to respect the result of an independence referendum held on October 1 despite a court ban and said he would fight to "build an independent state in the form of a republic".

Rajoy is expected to lift central control as soon as the new Catalan Cabinet is formally in place, although liberal party Ciudadanos has called for continued intervention until the Catalan independence push is definitively put to rest.

Spanish authorities have warned that the national government could reassert its authority if the new regional government breaks the law again.

Quim Torra elected as new Catalan President