Catalan Separatist Turull Fails in Bid to Become President

(Bloomberg) -- Separatist lawmaker Jordi Turull failed to win enough support in the regional chamber to become Catalan president, the latest evidence of the tensions running through the pro-independence camp after its attempt to secede from Spain collapsed in October.

He was backed by 64 of the 133 lawmakers who voted, compared with 65 votes against and 4 abstentions, speaker Roger Torrent said Thursday in a televised session in Barcelona. Turull is among six separatist politicians who on Friday will hear details of the criminal charges they may face once the investigation into last year’s events is completed.

Catalan Separatist Turull Fails in Bid to Become President

They could include alleged rebellion, sedition and the diversion of public funds. Turull, who was a member of ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont’s cabinet, as well as his allies may face preventive jail or disqualification from office depending on the preliminary charges they face.

Josep Maria Fuster, a law professor at University of Barcelona, said a charge of rebellion against someone in government would most likely result in immediate disqualification. “It’s slightly less clear whether the same criteria can be applied to lawmakers,” he said.

Turull will have a second chance to become president on Saturday. Even if he fails, his decision to stand as a candidate triggers a two-month deadline for regional lawmakers to find a president before fresh elections are called. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy canceled a trip to Angola over the weekend.

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