By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - Officials in the separatist-held Catalan Parliament announced their decision to comply with a Spanish Supreme Court ruling and strip Catalan President Quim Torra of his seat Monday.
Torra was found guilty of disobedience in December and barred from holding public office for 18 months for having refused to remove pro-independence symbols from public buildings ahead of regional elections.
Despite the ruling, Torra continued operating as Catalan president, arguing that the sentence would not take effect until after his appeal. However, last Thursday, Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that Torra should be stripped of his seat until a final sentence is reached.
Still, Torra ignored the order and returned to work.
“I am a lawmaker and president of Catalonia because that’s what the people decided and that’s what was ratified by parliament,” Torra said after the verdict was announced.
Yet once he arrived at Parliament on Monday, officials headed by the separatist Speaker of the House Roger Torrent said Torra’s vote would no longer be valid in Parliament because it would delegitimize any legislation that was passed.
After an impassioned speech by Torra, where he pled for Parliament to protect his ‘rights’ as an MP, only a few members of the Catalan Parliament applauded him, signalling division between the various Catalan separatist parties that hold the regional majority.
Parliament must still confirm Torra’s removal, but it appears that he will still be allowed to remain head of the regional government.
As a reaction, groups of pro-independence protestors took to the streets of downtown Barcelona on Monday night, setting several trash containers on fire to create barricades between them and the police.