Catalan separatist leader Mas agrees to step down

Catalan separatist party leader Artur Mas says he would step down to form new regional government for Catalonia's independence from Spain

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Catalan acting President Artur Mas gestures during a news conference at the regional government headquarters at Palau de la Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain

Updated Jan 10, 2016

Catalonia’s leader Artur Mas said on Saturday he would step aside to avoid regional elections for a new government that will work towards the independence of the region from Spain.

The leader announced he would step aside and struck an agreement to form a new regional government after the January 9 deadline, after which there will be fresh regional elections.

"I am going to step to one side. I will not offer myself as candidate for (the pro-independence coalition) Junts pel Si for my reelection as president of Catalonia," Mas told a news conference in Barcelona.

Catalonia, worth a fifth of Spain's economic output, has been unable to form a government since a regional election in September last year due to disagreements between the winning and pro-independence coalition parties.

Last year, Catalonia's pro-independence regional parliament voted for a separate social security system and treasury, aiming for complete independence by 2017.

TRTWorld and agencies