Catalonia president set to relaunch bid for independence from Spain

Catalonia president set to relaunch bid for independence from Spain Catalonia’s separatist leader Quim Torra is set to relaunch the region’s bid to split from Spain, shooting down an offer from the government in Madrid to hold a referendum which would offer greater autonomy but not independence.

Torra, who was sworn in as the region’s president in May, plans to launch his ‘Our Moment’ separatist strategy at a lecture on Tuesday. Torra’s predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, who sought independence, fled to Brussels last year after being removed from office by the central Madrid government.

In an interview on Monday, Torra said he plans to take Catalonia’s bid for independence “to the end” and “as far as the Catalan parliament wants me to go,” Reuters reported.

On Monday, Spain’s new socialist prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, who has aimed to defuse tensions over Catalan independence, proposed a referendum which could grant greater autonomy to the northeastern region, but ruled out any kind of independence referendum.

That offer was rejected by Roger Torrent, the speaker of the Catalan parliament, who said that a referendum on self-determination “is what the majority of the Catalan people wants”.

Catalonia declared independence in 2017 after holding a , which prompted then-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to impose direct rule from Madrid, which was lifted when Torra became leader.

There are currently nine Catalan politicians and activists detained on charges of rebellion for their role in facilitating last year’s referendum which was illegal under Spanish national law. In March, broke out between protesters and riot police after thousands took to the streets of Barcelona to protest against the Supreme Court‘s decision to prosecute the independence leaders.

Catalonia was granted autonomy under Spain’s 1978 constitution. Torra’s speech comes a week ahead of the Catalan national day, the ‘Diada’, which draws hundreds of thousands of independence supporters to the streets.

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