By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - Embattled Catalan President Quim Torra announced on Wednesday he will trigger fresh regional elections in the northeastern region of Spain.
In a televised address to Catalans, the separatist politician said the legislature has come to a political dead-end, and announced he will officially trigger elections after the regional budget is passed later in the day.
On Monday, the Catalan Parliament, controlled by a pro-independence coalition, announced Torra would lose his seat as an MP.
In December, Torra was found guilty of disobedience for refusing to remove pro-independence symbols from public buildings and barred from holding office for 18 months.
Torra argued he would continue to act in politics while he appealed the sentence. Yet last week, Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that he should have already been removed from office.
The fact that the Catalan Parliament backed the Spanish Supreme Court’s decision revealed a growing rift between the three separatist parties that make up the ruling coalition.
“No government can work without unity, without a common strategy and without loyalty amongst the partners,” Torra said in his institutional declaration.
The last elections in Catalonia were held in 2017 after the former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy suspended home rule and dissolved the Catalan Parliament after it declared independence from Spain.
The separatists won a majority but had to form a coalition to govern. Then next elections in Catalonia were not scheduled to be held until 2022.
In his speech, Torra did not provide an exact date for the snap elections but said he will after the budget is passed later on Wednesday.