President fires back at critics in parliament after week of turmoil
Quim Torra faces down opposition calls for him to resign, insisting on need for dialogue with Spanish president
President Quim Torra fired back at his critics in parliament on Wednesday, who in recent weeks have questioned his handling of the unrest seen on the streets, launched a vote of no confidence against him, and made a number of calls for him to step down.
Addressing comments to Catalonia's largest opposition party, the unionist Ciutadans (Cs), Torra said the party's complaints about the "tsunami," in reference to pro-independence protest group Tsunami Democràtic, was merely to hide its own "shipwreck."
After Cs' head, Lorena Roldán, accused the president of having links with the CDR pro-independence protest group, some of whose activists face terrorism charges, Torra said Cs was looking for "confrontation" because no one wanted to talk to them.
Reminding Roldán of the failure of the no confidence motion her party recently put forward against him, Torra warned the Cs MPs that "your destiny is failure," and he added that the party "is in free fall in the polls" and warned that it is at risk of becoming "negligible."
Torra calls on Sánchez to "sit and talk"
Torra also took aim at the Catalan Socialists (PSC), after days in which repeated calls to Spain's acting president Pedro Sánchez have gone unanswered. "When you've got Sánchez on the phone," Torra told party head Miquel Iceta, "pass him to me so I can talk to him."
Insisting that "what we need now is for the Catalan president to speak with the Spanish president," Torra had a message for Sánchez: "Sit and talk, please," he said in English, referring to the campaign calling for dialogue between the two executives.
The president's remarks came in reply to accusations from Iceta that Torra is "feeding the most radical sectors, sadly," and the PSC head's criticism that Torra is "not up to the task" and so should resign so that "a new election could be held."
"Choose a side," president tells leftwingers
The head of the Catalunya en Comú-Podem party, Jéssica Albiach, also called on Torra to step down, or else submit himself to a no confidence vote after the November 10 general election, saying he was not a valid interlocutor "either inside or outside Catalonia."
Torra replied to Albiach by calling on the leftwing party, which favors a self-determination referendum but does not support independence, to choose which side it is on, either "with the victims of reprisals or with the repressors."