Roger Torrent, new Catalan Parliament president
Pro-independence parties will keep the majority in the chamber's ruling body, the bureau
Roger Torrent is the new Catalan Parliament president. The chamber elected this young pro-independence Esquerra Republicana MP as the leader of the institution in its opening session. With 65 votes, he won over Ciutadans’ José María Espejo-Saavedra, with 56. Nine votes were left blank. Two votes were needed for him to be appointed, as he did not get the absolute majority in the first vote, and a simple majority in successive votes is enough if the first one fails to succeed.
In other votes held in this Wednesday's chamber, the rest of the posts in the chamber have been distributed with two Together for Catalonia MPs (Josep Costa and Eusebi Campdepadrós), two from Esquerra Republicana (Alba Vergés apart from Roger Torrent), two from Ciutadans (José María Espejo-Saavedra and Joan García) and one member of the Socialists (David Pérez). Thus the pro-independence parties will keep the majoirty in the chamber's ruling body, the bureau.
The jailed pro-independence elected MPs voted by proxy. Marta Rovira (ERC) voted for Oriol Junqueras, while Jordi Turull (Together for Catalonia) voted for Joaquim Forn and Jordi Sànchez. The interim bureau accepted it, after the Spanish Supreme Court opened the door to this possibility in a decree last week. Although the unionist parties asked the bureau to reconsider its decision, this was denied, and Junqueras, Forn and Sànchez ended being able to vote.
The elected MPs in Brussels, including president Puigdemont, did not ask to vote by proxy. The Spanish government made clear on Tuesday that it would challenge in the Spanish Constitutional Court any vote in the chamber that allows the MPs in Belgium to take part remotely. Thus, the pro-independence parties do not want to risk Madrid challenging at least this Wednesday's vote.