Catalonia has a new leader instead of Carles Puigdemont. On Tuesday, hardline separatist Joaquim Torra sworn in as Catalan president, Financial Times reported.
Mr Torra was handpicked as a presidential candidate by deposed, exiled Carles Puigdemont, scraped through the parliamentary vote — 66 separatist lawmakers voted for him, 65 anti-independence MPs against and four abstained.
“We will build a Catalan republic,”
new Catalonia leader assured his supporters after the vote.
According to regional lawmakers, pro-independence activist Joaquim Torra brings together all the necessary requirements: he is very determined, absolutely committed to the independence cause, and he has started this adventure because of his complete loyalty to President Puigdemont.
Torra apologized publicly in the past for insulting Spaniards
Quim Torra used to express anti-Spanish views that political opponents view as extreme or even supremacist. The fervent separatist has apologized publicly in the past for insulting Spaniards in articles, interviews and social media posts.
Among the comments that caused offence were his speculations that Spaniards “only know how to plunder” and “have eliminated the word ‘shame’ from their dictionary.”
Torra didn’t forget to question the Catalan identity of Barcelona-born basketball player Pau Gasol and tennis star Rafael Nadal, who is from the Spanish island of Mallorca and speaks its local dialect of the Catalan language.
“They don’t express the Catalan identity we want. They are more Spanish,”
Torra said of the athletes and was harshly criticized for such an opinion– Catalan people love these guys!