Spain: Catalonia's new Parliament to convene Jan 17
Madrid: Spain's Prime Minister said that he intends to convene Catalonia's new Parliament on Jan 17 and hopes the restive region's next government won't renew the push for independence that fueled a serious political crisis.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy set the date just over a week after a regional parliamentary election resulted in the separatist parties he hoped to keep out of power again winning the most seats and in turn a good chance to lead the next Catalan government.
At the opening session, the parliament typically chooses a house speaker, who then calls on a candidate to try to form a government in the following days.
Rajoy ordered the Dec 21 election under constitutional powers he invoked in October to dissolve the previous parliament after it voted to declare Catalonia an independent republic. He also removed the region's pro-independence president and his Cabinet.
Governing Catalonia will remain in the hands of Spanish authorities until a new president and Cabinet are chosen.
Rajoy has not ruled out seizing control of the region again, if necessary.
While the anti-secession Ciutadans (Citizens) collected the most votes of any single party, the prime minister's hope that the separatists would suffer a stinging rebuke at the polls went unfulfilled.
It remains to be seen if the secessionist parties, which won 70 of the regional Parliament's 135 seats, will be able to form a government. Eight of their deputies elected are either in flight from justice or jailed in Spain while being investigated for alleged rebellion over the independence declaration. agencies