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Spanish Supreme Court confirms Catalan leader Quim Torra will be forced to step down, likely triggering election

Spanish Supreme Court confirms Catalan leader Quim Torra will be forced to step down, likely triggering election
Spain’s Supreme Court has upheld a decision to remove Catalan separatist leader Quim Torra from his position as head of the autonomous region.

Torra’s sentence was initially handed down last December, after he was convicted on charges of disobeying the courts for refusing to remove banners and messages in support of his fellow separatist leaders, who were convicted for their roles in the failed 2017 independence bid. 

He was banned from holding public office and fined €30,000, but appealed the decision, the result of which was announced Monday. The sentence was passed unanimously and will almost certainly create yet another constitutional crisis in the region, which will be an unwelcome distraction amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Torra will remain in office until such time as the Superior Court of Catalonia – which initially tried and convicted him prior to the case being taken to the Supreme Court – officially carries out the sentence. 

Torra may yet pursue an additional appeal of the conviction and a stay of execution on the sentence so as to retain his position, but there has been no official comment in this regard as yet. 

The decision will likely trigger a snap election, which could not come at a worse time, given that Spain is battling a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic – a point Torra himself made last week while testifying before the court. 

“I’m not the one who will bring this country, at such a critical time, through an irresponsible electoral period that will paralyse the Catalan administration,” he said.

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