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Catalan leader forms new government

May 30, 2018

After weeks of stalemate, Catalonia's separatist president has nominated an administration without jailed or exiled former ministers. The move is an attempt to clear the way for Madrid to end direct rule in the region.

Quim Torra with colleagues in the Barcelona parliament
Image: picture-alliance/Zumapress/J. Boixareu

Catalan President Quim Torra has chosen a new administration without jailed or exiled former ministers who backed the region's independence push, in a latest attempt to form a government for Spain's northeastern region.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had refused his earlier choice of ministers, saying pro-independence leaders currently in jail or seeking refuge in other European countries would not be authorized.

In response to Rajoy's letter, Torra changed his approach in order to form a government. A juridical advisory committee told him that his nominees — none of whom are in jail or in exile — should be able to assume their posts.

Some of the new names

  • Laura Borras is to take the place of Lluis Puig, in exile in Belgium, as culture minister.
  • Damia Calvet has been proposed as minister of territory and sustainability in place of Josep Rull, who is in prison near Madrid.
  • Angels Chacon has been nominated for the business department, replacing Elsa Artadi, who will take the place of Jordi Turull in the presidency department. Former presidential candidate Turull has been held in detention in Spain since March on charges of sedition and rebellion.
  • Alba Verges is to head the health department instead of Toni Comin, who is also in exile in Belgium.

The Catalan lawyers on the advisory committee told Torra he was acting within his powers to form a government "not subject to the authorization or control" of Madrid.

Madrid had previously criticized Torra's choices as "a new provocation," saying the central Spanish government would maintain direct rule over the Catalan region until a new regional government was in place.

Rajoy is facing his own difficulties following a court ruling on a long-running corruption case which fined the ruling Popular Party. A no-confidence vote in Rajoy is to be held in the Madrid parliament on Friday.

jm/cmk (EFE, AFP)

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