Catalan Parliament selects new president, setting stage for showdown with Madrid over independence

Catalonia's new president, former Girona mayor Carles Puigdemont. Photo: Reuters
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• Artur Mas steps aside in last-minute deal with anti-capitalist CUP party •

After cliffhanger negotiations terminating in a last-minute deal late Saturday, Catalonia’s small anti-capitalist CUP party bowed to the pro-Independence Junts pel Si coalition in a deal that saw the exit of acting president Artur Mas and the election Sunday night of former Girona mayor Carles Puigdemont as the new Catalan president.

Selected by a vote of 70 in favor (62 Junts pel Si, plus 8 CUP votes), 63 against and 2 abstentions from CUP deputies, Puigdemont told the Catalan parliament that his administration will continue with the region’s push to secede from Spain and follow the road map toward independence previously laid out by outgoing president Mas.

Puigdemont’s selection came after two months of negotiations between Mas’s Junts pel Si coalition and the CUP, following a Nov. 9 independence resolution later declared illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court. Spain’s acting Prime Miniser, Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) called a press conference Sunday evening to warn Puigdemont and the Catalan parliament that any move to contravene the court ruling or Spain’s Constitution would meet with a firm response from the central government.

► Read the Full Story in Spanish at El País, La Vanguardia, or El Periódico …

► Read the Full Story in English at Reuters, The FT, or Spanish News Today …

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