Catalonia′s president appoints jailed lawmakers to government | News | DW | 19.05.2018
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Catalonia's president appoints jailed lawmakers to government

The freshly-appointed Catalan president has tapped jailed and exiled parliamentarians to join his government. But lawmakers in the regional parliament have called the decision a "serious error" at a critical moment.

Catalan President Quim Torra on Saturday named two lawmakers in custody and two others who are in Brussels in self-imposed exile to his cabinet, in a move likely to anger the Spanish government.

Torra, who was appointed president by Catalonia's parliament last week, tapped Jordi Turull and Josep Rull to serve in the government. Both lawmakers, who remain in custody near Madrid on charges related to a controversial independence bid, said via Twitter that they accepted the offer to join the government.

Turull said in a tweet that he was "honored to accept the request" from Torra, adding that he would devote his "body and soul to the service of all Catalans."

'Legal'?

But it is unlikely that the Spanish government will accept Torra's nominations. Although Torra has the ability to appoint his government by decree, Madrid still has the opportunity to block it.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government has said it expects the Catalan administration to be "legal and viable" after the regional parliament attempted multiple times to appoint a leader in jail or exile, including former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

'Serious error'

Last year, Madrid imposed direct rule after the Catalan government orchestrated an independence referendum, which was outlawed by Spain's Supreme Court prior to the vote.

As part of the intervention, Spain's government dissolved the regional parliament and called snap elections, which saw pro-independence parties claim a majority in the legislature.

But the separatist movement has fractured following infighting between the parties. Salvador Illa, who serves as organization secretary for the Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC), told EFE news agency that Torra's decision to appoint jailed and exiled lawmakers was a "serious error."

"From the first day, we have been saying that people who can serve and develop in the entirety of their functions should have the greatest responsibilities," said Illa. "But this is not the case."

The PSC lawmaker added that she was concerned by "scarce feminine presence" in Torra's proposed government. "It does not reflect the balance that it should have." The PSC does not support a Catalan independence bid.

ls/jm (EFE, AFP)

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