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Torra blames Spain for deadlock: ‘Someone left the negotiating table, and it was not us’

One year after taking office, Catalan president takes credit for putting administration back on track after self-rule suspension from Madrid

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04 June 2019 02:28 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Catalan president Quim Torra has blamed Spain and the government led by Pedro Sánchez for the standstill in the talks to find a way out of the independence crisis. "Someone left the negotiating table, and it was not us," he said.

On Tuesday, the head of the pro-independence government in Catalonia accounted for the first year of his troubled presidency, which came about after months of direct rule from Madrid—a reaction to a referendum and a declaration of independence in the fall of 2017.

Torra credited his government for putting the administration back on track after the suspension of self-rule, which he says caused "great losses" to Catalan finances.

While Torra has repeatedly been accused of government paralysis, he put down criticism claiming that Catalonia is "back on the move and ready".

  • "So far, I haven’t heard what are [the Spanish government's] proposals. We want a referendum on independence. What is their plan?”

    Quim Torra · Catalan president

The Catalan president blamed Sánchez for abruptly putting an end to the talks between executives, which were only made possible after pro-independence parties in the Spanish parliament helped the Socialists oust the conservative Mariano Rajoy from power.

Once again, Torra asked for an observer to be present during Catalan-Spanish meetings—a proposal that sparked outrage among right-wing opposition parties and which ultimately set the course for a snap general election.

With Sánchez endowed with a fresh election victory, Torra urges him to make clear what are his plans for Catalonia: "So far, I haven’t heard what are his proposals. We want a referendum on independence. What is their plan?”

Torra was the third candidate proposed by former president Carles Puigdemont after Spanish courts blocked his attempts to reclaim his post while exiled in Belgium or else appoint politicians in jail.

From the beginning, Torra’s presidency was tangled up in the trial of 12 politicians and activists accused by prosecutors of leading a "violent coup d’etat" for calling a referendum despite Spain’s opposition.

With the final verdict of the Catalan trial looming, all eyes are on Torra and how his government will react to the most than likely prison sentences for pro-independence leaders. He called for a "unitary response" by Catalan society, and while denied any possibility of a snap election, he didn’t rule out calling a new referendum on independence.

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