The Newest: Catalan candidate guarantees work for independence

Catalan secessionists poised to elect new regional leader in second vote

Torra is an MP from Puigdemont's pro-independence party, Together for Catalonia (JxCat). But it is unlikely to ease tensions between Madrid and Barcelona.

The absence of its votes will leave father of three Torra with the simple majority needed to be elected regional president.

Torra has acknowledged that he lacks any legitimacy to govern other than through the goodwill of wishes of Puigdemont, whom he has referred to as the legitimate leader of Catalonia, despite having initiated a process that violated existing social harmony laws in the region.

The far-left CUP party decided that its four regional parliament members will abstain during an investiture session scheduled for Monday, which should leave another lawmaker, Quim Torra, with more "yes" than "no" votes.

Catalan presidential hopeful Quim Torra says he'll work towards constructing an unbiased republic if he's elected as the brand new chief of the restive area, as anticipated in a Monday parliamentary vote.

The Spanish government is expected to remove the special controls on the Catalan administration after Torra and his new ministers are sworn in later this week.

Mr Torra said: "With a republic, everyone will win rights, nobody will lose rights: these are for everyone, no matter which way they vote".

Torra, a fiercely nationalistic politician who previously headed one of Catalonia's biggest pro-independence grassroots organizations, was put forward by Puigdemont in a move widely seen as an attempt to continue to call the shots from overseas.

The new regional head was handpicked by the exiled former leader, Carles Puigdemont.

"The CUP will not block the formation of a new government", the party said.

Germany's intelligence chief accused Russian Federation of seeking to destabilise Spain by backing separatists in Catalonia, as the region elected a new hardline president to lead its bid for independence.

Separatist parties won regional elections in December.

After Torra's address Puigdemont appeared on Catalan television, speaking from Germany where he is free on bail pending a court decision on whether to extradite him to Spain. However, the leftist Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) expressed concern at his candidacy, suggesting it was a concession to the Spanish state.

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