Catalonia to form new government as Rajoy falls in Spain
Outgoing Spanish president greenlights the appointment of Quim Torra’s ministers
Catalonia is set to recover its self-government with the formation of a new executive by president Quim Torra on Saturday at 11:30 am, thus putting an end to seven months of direct rule from Spain.
Spanish president Mariano Rajoy, who sacked the Catalan government following a declaration of independence last October, ordered the lifting of direct rule as soon as Torra’s ministers take their posts. The names of the ministers have already been published in the Catalan government’s official gazette (DOGC).
Rajoy’s decision to lift direct rule was one of his last measures as president, as his government was voted out in a parliamentary motion of no-confidence on Friday. Opposition groups joined forces to oust Rajoy after his party was convicted in a major corruption scandal.
The votes of the Catalan pro-independence parties, ERC and PDeCAT, along with those of the Basque parties, EAJ-PNV and EH Bildu, were crucial in securing the support needed by Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez to dethrone Rajoy as head of the Spanish government.
When he was sworn in as president two weeks ago, Torra proposed reinstating the ministers deposed by Rajoy last October—a troublesome endeavor, as former cabinet members face criminal charges for their role in the independence bid. The offer was accepted by Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, currently in prison, as well as Toni Comín and Lluís Puig, seeking refuge in Brussels.
Rajoy responded by stressing that he would not authorize the formation of a new government in Catalonia if politicians in jail or abroad were nominated as ministers. Torra would eventually give up and instead put forward alternative government members.
The new ministers
The new list of ministers includes Laura Borràs, Damià Calvet, Àngels Chacon, and Alba Vergés. Borràs will replace Puig as culture minister. Vergés will lead the health department instead of Comín. Chacón will take over the business department replacing Elsa Artadi, who is in turn substituting Jordi Turull in the Presidency department. Meanwhile Calvet will substitute Rull as minister of territory and sustainability.