Spain urges Torra to join king at opening ceremony in Tarragona
Catalan president has demanded Felipe VI retract October 3 speech
The Spanish government’s delegate in Catalonia has criticized president Quim Torra for suggesting he might not show up at the opening ceremony of the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona, which will be attended by his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sánchez and King Felipe VI.
Teresa Cunillera, the Sánchez government’s most senior representative in Catalonia, said the event’s inauguration on Friday will be Torra’s “first occasion to show institutional respect” since he was elected as head of government a month ago.
With former Spanish president Mariano Rajoy out of politics, Felipe VI stands virtually alone as the nemesis of pro-independence supporters. A recent study by Catalonia’s Center for Opinion Studies (CEO) found that 77.9% of people surveyed graded the king’s performance at 4 or lower on a scale of 10. Most of them (60.3%) gave him a 0.
The Catalan government spokesperson said on Tuesday that Torra had not yet decided whether he would attend the opening of the Games, but said that “it would help” if the king retracted a controversial speech he made on October 3.
Speaking two days after the independence referendum, which was deemed illegal by a Spanish high court, Felipe VI accused pro-independence politicians of fracturing Catalan society, while he made no mention of the victims of police violence—the operation to stop the vote left 1,066 citizens injured, according to the Catalan authorities.
Torra has still not met the king. Should the president attend the ceremony, it would also be his first time meeting Sánchez since he became Spain’s president on June 1. An official meeting between the two government heads is due to take place in early July.
The Mediterranean Games in Tarragona start on June 22 and will run until July 1. Taking place every four years, this edition will feature 33 different sporting competitions and some 4,000 athletes from 26 different countries.