Pujdeme refused to run for the presidency of Catalonia

Former Catalan President renounces leadership from exile

Separatist allies announced on 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. In the event, pro-independence parties retained their slim majority in the Catalan parliament and a new government will have to decide whether to pursue another collision course with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

However, Mr Torra could still be elected in a second round of voting to be held on Monday in which only a simple majority in the 135-seat regional parliament is needed, provided the far-left CUP party can be persuaded not to vote against his candidacy.

Speaking from hi self-exile in Berlin, Mr Puigdemont, pointed to Catalan lawmaker Quim Torra as a strong candidate to take on the role of regional president.

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont announced his decision to renounce leadership of Catalonia on Wednesday.

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There are now 70 lawmakers in the regional parliament who are pro-independence, against 65 who aren't.

On Oct 27, Madrid sacked Puigdemont and his entire cabinet, and called regional elections in December which separatist parties won again.

He was handpicked by the deposed former president, Carles Puigdemont, regarded by secessionists as the rightful leader but now in Germany facing extradition proceedings on rebellion charges.

Torra is a newcomer to politics. A new election is likely to return similar results to the last, a poll showed on Friday.

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

Both the Spanish government and the courts have declared the secession illegal and vowed to block it.

"He is the most radical that Puigdemont could find and the only one who voluntarily accepted to be the puppet of Mr. Puigdemont", she told reporters.

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