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Catalan president takes Rajoy to court

Ousted Spanish president accused of breach of official duty

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01 June 2018 04:41 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Catalan president Quim Torra is taking Mariano Rajoy to court for obstructing the formation of a new government. Rajoy, ousted as Spanish president on Friday, blocked Torra’s attempt to appoint a cabinet that included pro-independence leaders jailed in Madrid and seeking refuge in Belgium.

Torra, who eventually gave up and put forward alternative candidates to move forward from the political deadlock, accuses Rajoy of breach of official duty. The Catalan president is also taking Rajoy’s right-hand-woman, vice president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, to court.

Last October, Rajoy responded to a declaration of independence by dismissing the pro-independence executive and imposing direct rule. Rajoy recently used his powers to block the publication of Torra's nominations in the Catalan government's official gazette (DOGC)—a required step for the appointments to be legally binding.

In the lawsuit, Torra deems Rajoy's decision as "arbitrary" and accuses him of "overreaching" his competences, as well as breaking the law.

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.

In one of his last actions at the head of the Spanish government, Rajoy greenlighted Torra's new candidates and paved the way for the formation of a new government in Catalonia.

Torra's ministers will assume their posts on Saturday at 11:30 am. The ceremony will automatically put an end to seven months of direct rule from Spain.

Rajoy and his government were voted out in a parliamentary motion of no-confidence. Opposition groups joined forces to oust Rajoy after his party was convicted in a major corruption scandal last week.

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.

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  • Catalan president Quim Torra (by ACN)

  • Catalan president Quim Torra (by ACN)