Pujdeme refused to run for the presidency of Catalonia

Former Catalan leader proposes candidate for regional government

Former Catalan leader proposes candidate for regional government

Puigdemont's announcement from exile in Germany came a day after the Madrid government stepped in to block him from once again becoming president of Catalonia, pressuring the separatist camp to pick another candidate and form a regional government.

Ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

Separatist parties in Catalonia aim to elect one of their own as regional president by early next week, ending five months of political deadlock amid the restive region's attempts to secede from Spain.

With the backing of Mr Puigdemont's Together for Catalonia (JxCat) coalition and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), the success of Mr Torra's investiture bid is likely to hinge on the votes of the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP).

He promised to restore Catalonia's laws suspended by Spanish courts and start drafting a constitution for a future Catalan Republic, stressing that he would "not give up anything" and would "assume responsiblity for what comes from our actions".

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in an interview Thursday with television broadcaster Antena 3 that he was ready to "open a dialogue" with the regional government "in the framework of the law".

Since December, the Catalan Parliament already four times could not form a government.

Rajoy quickly responded to the speech, saying: "What we saw and heard did not please us. but we will judge his actions".

Puigdemont would become involved as soon as his legal situation allowed, added Torra, who also condemned the "unacceptable silence" of European institutions over the Catalan crisis. Puigdemont is in Germany, fighting extradition to Spain to face charges related to a failed independence bid he led a year ago.

All four previous candidates proposed by the pro-independence movement were blocked by the courts because they were either living overseas or being held in custody for their role in a referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

The central government in Madrid has been managing Catalan public affairs since shortly after separatist politicians made an independence declaration last October based on the results of an outlawed referendum on secession.

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