Catalonia's Carles Puigdemont Opts Out of Presidency

Former Catalan President renounces leadership from exile

Madrid blocks second Puigdemont comeback bid in Catalonia

Separatist allies announced Saturday they would try to have Puigdemont, now in Germany after being detained there in March on a European arrest warrant, re-appointed as president by next week after the regional parliament voted through reforms allowing him to take the role without being present.

The announcement marks a major shift for Puigdemont after he declared Catalonia's independence a year ago, a move that prompted Madrid to intervene and dissolve parliament in favor of fresh elections.

That day, Rajoy also sacked Puigdemont and all his ministers after the regional parliament declared independence following a referendum that wasn't sanctioned by Madrid and was banned by the courts.

Mr Torra is an MP from Mr Puigdemont's pro-independence party, Together for Catalonia (JxCat).

The speaker of the Catalan parliament Roger Torrent said in a statement on Friday that he had proposed Torra as a candidate for regional president after consulting with political parties, Reuters said.

Speaking in Berlin, former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on Thursday announced his decision to renounce leadership of the region's legislature.

Torra needs an absolute majority to get through, and if he doesn't, he will get another opportunity in a second round, likely to take place on Monday, where he will only need a simple majority.

Backing unilateral independence over the negotiated exit favoured by larger separatist parties, the CUP has previously broken ranks with the pro-independence block.

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If a president is not sworn in by May 22 a new election will be triggered. If he is elected to office, he must form a regional government with the intention of leading Catalonia's independence movement.

Catalonia has been in political limbo since December previous year when pro-independence parties won early elections.

The Spanish legal system has charged Puigdemont and other separatist leaders with a range of offenses over their roles in the independence push.

He proposed political newcomer Quim Torra as his successor, urging the next regional executive to build an independent country.

But he has been a major cultural figure over the last decade pushing for the region to fully break from Spain.

The Spanish government said Mr Torra's speech was "confrontational".

Who is Carles Puigdemont? .

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