Catalan parliament fails to elect regional president

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If CUP abstains in the second vote, a simple majority will be enough to see Torra elected as the 131st leader of the region and bring an end to the central Spanish government control which has been in place in Catalonia since October 27, 2017. In the event, pro-independence parties retained their slim majority in the Catalan parliament and a new government will have to decide whether to pursue another collision course with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Torra, a 55-year-old father-of-three, is a dyed-in-the-wool independence advocate cut from the same cloth as Puigdemont, who has tasked him with continuing his fight with Spain's central government to achieve independence.

In a widely shared video on social media, Puigdemont suggested Quim Torra for president, signalling a potential end to months-long wrangling over a new regional government.

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has nominated a political newcomer to be the region's new president.

However, the Deputy may count on success in the second session of Parliament, which will take place on Monday, may 14.

Backing unilateral independence over the negotiated exit favoured by larger separatist parties, the CUP has previously broken ranks with the pro-independence block.

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Catalonia has been without a president or government since a December regional election.

Mr Torra, vice-president of the activist group Omnium Cultural - whose leader, Jordi Cuixart, has been in preventative prison since October - is the so-called "Plan D" candidate after three previous inauguration attempts were blocked by the Spanish courts.

The Spanish government said Mr Torra's speech was "confrontational".

Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium just days after being sacked by Madrid, was detained in Germany in March after Spain issued a European arrest warrant against him.

Puigdemont is free to move around Germany after being released from detention pending a German court decision on a Spanish extradition request, but he may not leave the country.

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