Quim Torra, the Together For Catalonia MP named by Carles Puigdemont as the new candidate for First Minister on Thursday night, said during his opening speech at a confidence debate in the regional parliament on Saturday morning that after his appointment and the lifting of the suspension of home rule "we will have no excuse to [not] work without rest for the republic".
Mr. Torra said he would be "loyal to the the mandate of October 1", in reference to the date of the separatist-organised illegal referendum on independence from Spain last autumn: "to build an independent state as a republic".
"I shouldn't be here today", he said: "It should be Puigdemont talking to this chamber and he should be accompanied by all the political prisoners".
"I want to make it clear that our First Minister is Carles Puigdemont"
"Nothing will be normal until we get our institutions back, until we get democracy back", he continued, describing the situation as "enormously grave".
Mr. Torra went as far as to describe the state of affairs in Catalonia, one of the richest regions of Spain, as "a humanitarian crisis".
He said his new regional government, if he is appointed First Minister, would lead to a "transition phase" towards an independent Catalan republic and framed any solution to the problems with Madrid as a bilateral problem that should be dealt with by governments on equal standing.
"We want to move from the restoration of our institutions to drawing up a constitutional project."
Mr. Torra repeated Mr. Puigdemont's reprimand of King Felipe for his speech and attitude towards last October's conflict: "Not like that, your Majesty".
He also announced the new Catalan government would appoint "a commissioner to draw up a plan to revert the effects of Article 155", the suspension of home rule in the region since the end of October.
"We will assume full responsibility for our acts and how we move forward in our republic will also be our responsibility."
Addressing citizens in Catalonia listening to his words, Mr. Torra said: "Your victory is the failure of a state that used violence against a people".
Carles Puigdemont reacted to Mr. Torra's speech on Twitter from Germany: "Brilliant".
Updated: 5:38 pm, May 12 2018 (link)
PM's Office Denounces "Caesarist", "Autocratic" Candidate
The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement at midday in response to Quim Torra's (Together For Catalonia) confidence debate speech in Catalonia, which Moncloa described as "confrontational" and "divisive", with "no interest in building dialogue in parliament, across society or with anyone who does not submit exactly to his proposals".
The PM's office stopped short of describing a dictatorship in Catalonia but not from alluding to that idea.
"Faced with the values and methods of our democracy, his words and candidacy are the confirmation of a kind of Caesarism which is improper of the 21st Century, which subjects the general interest of all citizens to the personal interest of an individual. Because he who relegates the common good to his political needs and personal urgencies is autocratic and discriminatory."
"Mr. Torra has not introduced himself as the candidate all Catalans need and deserve. He has given up on the idea of governing for all of them."
"Pro-independence parties know that they have no chance of achieving their secessionist aims."
The Spanish government ended its statement by saying it would be Mr. Torra's acts as First Minister, though, not his rhetoric in parliament, that would be "closely watched".
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