Catalonia's Mas Fails Again to Win Regional Presidency Vote

  • The Catalan Parliament has until January to find a president
  • King Felipe VI says that constitutional order will prevail

Catalonia’s acting president Artur Mas failed Thursday to win regional parliamentary approval to stay in office for a second time in a week, triggering a two-month period to reach an agreement before being forced to call elections.

Mas had 62 votes in favor and 73 against him, the Catalan Parliament said via Twitter. Those results were the same as Nov. 10, when the initial round of voting took place. It’s the first time the regional parliament failed to elect a president in both rounds, it said.

Mas’s failure to reach an agreement with anti-capitalist party CUP puts additional pressure on the separatist parties, which this week started the process of trying to secede from Spain. The nation’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Thursday reiterated that he stands ready to act should Mas and his allies ignore a Constitutional Court ruling blocking the regional parliament motion declaring the start of the independence process. King Felipe VI, who avoids publicly discuss political issues, also stepped in.

“The Constitution will prevail,” the monarch said in a speech in Madrid Wednesday. “The people are not willing to put up the territorial unity for discussion.”

Mas fell short of victory even after offering to share the presidency’s functions with three other members of the cabinet in a bid to gain support from CUP, he said Thursday. Should CUP support him, Mas would voluntarily subject his government to a confidence motion after the summer 2016.

“It’s a no, but stay calm,” said CUP lawmaker Antonio Banos to Mas, during his speech in the regional parliament Thursday. Mas’s proposal, while on the “right track,” is short of CUP’s aspirations, he said.

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