Speaker Torrent calls for ‘national unity government’ if Catalan leaders are found guilty
President Torra’s response: get ready to reinstate Puigdemont as president
Parliament's Speaker Roger Torrent calls for a "national unity government" of pro-independence and republican parties if Catalan leaders are found guilty in the upcoming verdict of the independence trial. And the Catalan President, Quim Torra, suggest he should instead prepare Parliament to reinstate exiled leader Carles Puigdemont as President.
In an exclusive interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), Torrent urged the current president, Quim Torra, to consider the option of a broad-party executive with parties representing "the 80% of Catalans that are against repression and want a democratic solution" to the political conflict.
Currently, the Catalan government is a coalition between pro-independence parties JxCat -led by President Torra and exiled leader Carles Puigdemont-, and ERC, the party of jailed leader Oriol Junqueras, speaker Roger Torrent or vicepresident Pere Aragonès. The internal divisions between both parties, however, are vox populi.
According to Torrent, a new concentration government should also include far-left pro-independence CUP and Catalunya-En Comú, the left-wing party of Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, which integrates members both in favor and against independence and supports a referendum. If that option was not possible, the Speaker also suggests calling a new Catalan election.
But for president Torra, the answer to a potential guilty verdict in the Catalan trial should be another one: reinstating leader Carles Puigdemont, currently exiled in Belgium, as President. Puigdemont won a seat in the Catalan Parliament in the 2017 election, called during Spain's direct rule. However, he was not able to retake his post as President and Torra was elected instead after months of stalemate.
Sources close to Torra said that Torrent should make preparations to allow Parliament to reinstate Puigdemont as President. On January 30, 2018, Torrent suspended a plenary to re-elect the exiled leader amid doubts over the legality of the move.
Torrent's comments about a "national-unity government" came only hours after an ERC minister suggested President Torra should accept a motion of confidence if the executive fails to pass a the 2020 budget. The move was rebuffed by one of the allies of Torra in the executive, his spokeswoman and also minister Meritxell Budó.