Torra to be elected president as CUP decides to abstain
Parliament expected to swear in new president by simple majority on Monday
Quim Torra will be elected as the new Catalan president on Monday. The far-left CUP has decided to abstain in tomorrow's vote, thus paving the way for the Junts per Catalunya candidate to be invested.
In the first parliamentary vote to elect Torra on Saturday evening, the four CUP MPs decided to abstain. Following the group meeting on Sunday, the anti-capitalists decided to keep the same vote for Monday. A 'no' vote could have forced a snap election in Catalonia, as the deadline to form a new government is May 22.
Since the pro-independence parties held on to a majority in last December’s election, CUP pledged to vote only in favor of Carles Puigdemont, the president deposed by the Spanish government following a declaration of independence.
A CUP abstention is enough for Torra to be elected, as he is backed by the main parties in favor of a Catalan state, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) and Esquerra Republicana (ERC).
In their meeting, CUP members said that the government plan put forward by the two biggest pro-independence parties, JxCat and ERC, is not ambitious enough in the social areas nor in the promotion of a Catalan independent republic. The anti-capitalists decided that they will pursue an "active opposition" to the new government, but refrained from blocking its election.
In fact, the governability of Torra's executive will be in the anti-capitalists' hands unless JxCat and ERC find alternative allies along the way.
During a debate in Parliament on Saturday, CUP spokesman Carles Riera said that Quim Torra's candidacy meant that the biggest pro-independence parties were afraid of "disobeying" Spain and were giving up the chance to elect Carles Puigdemont. "It's submissive," he added.
The biggest party in parliament and main unionist group, Ciutadans (Cs), criticized that Catalonia "is again in hands of an anti-system party" that "has only four MPs." Cs MP Lorena Roldán regretted that "7.5 million Catalans depend on" what the anti-capitalists decide. Roldán went on to say that the soon-to-be new president of Catalonia, Quim Torra, is also a "radical", even "worse than Puigdemont".
Pere Aragonès, from Esquerra Republicana, said on Sunday that the new government "won't be submissive" and will "always look forward." "We need a government to resist and build the bases for independence," he added.
The leader of the People's Party in Catalonia, Xavier García-Albiol, said that the soon to become president is a radical. "Tomorrow, more than half of Catalans will have a president that doesn't represent us. And what's worse: he doesn't intend to," he said in a message on Twitter. In parliament, García-Albiol already warned Quim Torra that the Spanish government "will react" if he follows the path of the last Catalan cabinet.
Quim Torra is the fourth candidate for president put forward by pro-independence parties, after all his predecessors' bids for office were blocked by Spanish courts. In a much awaited announcement, Puigdemont chose Torra as his successor on Thursday, in what is seen as the last attempt to appoint a new president before a new election is automatically called in ten days.