Government partners agree to not choose new president if Torra is barred from office

Cabinet chief hints at disobedience while vice president says new leader must be elected in snap election

Catalan president Quim Torra at a cabinet meeting on September 1, 2020 (by Rubén Moreno/Presidència)
Catalan president Quim Torra at a cabinet meeting on September 1, 2020 (by Rubén Moreno/Presidència) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 1, 2020 02:27 PM

The final judicial decision on the Catalan president's disqualification is approaching as the month of September begins.

And the two coalition government partners, Esquerra Republicana (ERC) and Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), agree that should Quim Torra's conviction be confirmed by the Supreme Court, the Catalan parliament will not pick his successor but rather allow for a snap election.

Spain's Supreme Court will review his conviction on September 17 and its final ruling on the matter could be announced weeks later. Torra was barred from office by Catalonia's highest court last December for failing to remove signs in favor of the jailed pro-independence leaders from public buildings on time during the electoral campaign period in spring 2019.

JxCat and ERC have repeatedly had their discrepancies throughout the entire political term, but they do seem to agree on how it should end.

On Monday, Torra called on the parties to not select his successor in the event he is barred from office, as he assumed would be the case in an interview with public broadcaster TV3.

If the chamber fails to choose a new cabinet leader within two months, an election is automatically called.

Yet, the president said he would not let the Supreme Court control when an election will take place, suggesting that he would call one before being ousted. Torra has even said that he already has a date in mind but is yet to disclose it.

The Junts per Catalunya politician also said that he has disobeyed the Spanish courts twice, "and it will not be the last time," hinting at the possibility of not accepting a potential disqualification.

On Tuesday, his vice president, ERC's Pere Aragonès, agreed that the parliament should not choose a successor: "If he is disqualified, the next Catalan president has to be elected in a vote because we need to let the people have their say."

In an interview with Catalunya Ràdio, he did not mention the possibility of disobeying court orders, but of leaving the post "vacant" while until a new president is elected in a snap election.

Yet, Aragonès admitted that as vice president, he will assume the "administrative functions" of the interim head of the Catalan cabinet.