Catalan early election set to be held on February 14, 2021

Parliament speaker says it will fall on a Sunday to avoid closing schools during Covid-19 pandemic

Parliament speaker Roger Torrent during an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), August 28, 2020 (by Gerard Artigas)
Parliament speaker Roger Torrent during an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), August 28, 2020 (by Gerard Artigas) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 2, 2020 10:03 AM

The early election in Catalonia following the ousting of Quim Torra as president will take place on February 14 if all goes as expected.

On Friday, parliament speaker Roger Torrent, of Esquerra Republicana, said in an interview with Rac1 radio that he plans to adjust the compulsory parliamentary procedures after Torra's departure so the upcoming vote falls on a Sunday "to avoid closing schools" on a weekday during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some pro-independence allies, however, resented the announcement, which was allegedly made without consulting them. "I feel bad there was no discussion between the parliament and the government in order to announce the date together," said interim spokesperson Meritxell Budó, of Junts per Catalunya.

Torrent was expected to begin talks with parliamentary groups later on Friday to determine whether any MP can garner the support of the majority of lawmakers to succeed the ousted leader.

This is set to fail, as pro-independence parties have already agreed to not put forward an alternative candidate, and it only remains to be seen whether the leading opposition party, unionist Ciudadanos, attempts to obtain the post.

In this event, the political group would still not be able to garner majority support and Torrent has suggested that a parliamentary debate on a Cs bid would not be held.

Election calendar

Following Torra's ousting, Torrent had 10 days excluding weekends to propose a candidate that could get a majority of parliamentary votes to become president. The countdown ends on October 15.

Once this period is over, Torrent would have two extra months to find a presidential candidate backed by enough lawmakers, at the end of which elections would automatically be called 54 days later.

That would mean the election falling on February 10, a Wednesday, but Torrent has pledged to maneuver so as to ensure that the election will coincide with a weekend to avoid schools being used as polling stations on a weekday.