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  • Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Catalonia's President Quim Torra's relations soured after the Spanish High Court imprisoned Catalan leaders over the independence referendum.

    Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Catalonia's President Quim Torra's relations soured after the Spanish High Court imprisoned Catalan leaders over the independence referendum. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 December 2019
Opinion

President of Catalonia's Generalitat Quim Torra ratified the demand for the release of political prisoners and leaders of the emancipation of Catalonia.

Spain's acting President and leader of the Socialist Party (PSOE) Pedro Sanchez spoke on the phone Tuesday with the President of Catalonia's Generalitat Quim Torra to reach out and establish joint plans aiming to get out of the political impasse facing Spain and the semi-autonomous region.

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The call lasted for about 15 minutes in a effort to seek alternatives to provide stability to the country as Sanchez said it is necessary "a government as soon as possible to provide stability and address politically the situation in Catalonia.”

For his part, Torra ratified the demand for the release of political prisoners and leaders of the emancipation of Catalonia.

"The solution to the conflict lies in the exercise of the self-determination right and the end of repression, as well as the freedom of political prisoners," Catalonia's top offficial said. After the call, both leaders agreed to meet in person "as soon as possible." 

The meeting between both dignitaries will take place when the new government is established in Spain, as Sanchez accepted the mandate from the king to try and form a government.

The attempt to reach out to Torra is desperate attempt from Sanchez to drum up support amid a deeply fragmented parliament.

The PSOE has been scrambling to obtain support since winning the Nov. 10 election but they have falled short of the needed majority. Just two days after his win, Sanchez announced a coalition deal with left-wing Unidas Podemos. But despite the agreement it is still not enough as both parties add 155 seats, short of the 176 seats needed for a majority in the 350-seat parliament.

This has left Sanchez and his party courting Catalonian independentist party Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña (ERC)​​​​​​​, whose 13 seats offer the party a chance to play the role of potential kingmaker in the government; as well as other regional parties in Catalonia and the Basque country. 

On Tuesday it was also reported that Sanchez will meet with the other so-called regional presidents, as he has already contacted Torra and ​​​​​​​the President of the Basque government Iñigo Urkullu Renteria.​​

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