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Supreme Court decides whether to ban defiant Catalan regional president from public office

Torra in Madrid.
Torra in Madrid. / REUTERS
  • Despite splits in his coalition government and the independence movement taking a backseat during the pandemic, Quim Torra has ruled out calling regional elections if he is banned from office

Supreme Court judges in Madrid were debating this week whether to uphold a Catalan court's verdict to ban Quim Torra, regional president, from public office for not having taken down a politically motivated sign during an election campaign.

A defiant Torra sat in the public gallery on Thursday while his lawyer defended him. Despite splits in his coalition government and the independence movement taking a backseat during the pandemic, he said in a press conference afterwards that he has ruled out calling regional elections if he is banned from office.

Torra explained that he wouldn't subject Catalonia to the upset of regional elections in the middle of a pandemic, ignoring pressure from coalition partners and nationalist rivals, ERC.

He sought to shift the blame for adding stress at a difficult time to Catalan politics onto the Supreme Court and urged them to overturn the earlier decision by Catalonia's top court .

The judges are expected to rule on the appeal in the next few days. Torra said that any disqualification from office would be "disproportionate and absurd" and his lawyer told them that an appeal would be made to EU judges.

Speaking to journalists afterwards, Torra said, "I have come to Madrid to look into the eyes of a court that wants to unseat another Catalan president. I have come to Madrid to explain to them that they have no right nor reason and we are not scared of them."