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Acting Catalan premier refuses to step aside despite political impasse

But Artur Mas concedes that if CUP party does not lend support new polls must be called

Artur Mas at the inauguration of a prison in Tarragona on Monday.

Acting Catalan regional premier Artur Mas has no intention of stepping aside ahead of his third attempt to be voted back into power in the northeastern Spanish region. That’s despite the failure of the radical Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP) party – which holds the key to power in the Generalitat, as the Catalan parliament is known – to reach an agreement on whether or not it should support the Junts pel Sí politician.

Elections held in September – and which were positioned as a de facto vote on independence from Spain by Mas and other pro-nationalist forces – were won by Junts pel Sí (an alliance of several parties that include Mas’s own Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC)) but without a majority. Anti-capitalist, pro-independence CUP will have to get on board with Mas’s group if a government is to be formed.

I am waiting to see what happens this weekend, as we have waited these last two-and-a-half months”

Acting Catalan premier Artur Mas

But at the weekend, CUP party members were completely split down the middle in a vote on whether or not to support Mas’s investiture, given that for many in that group he is a symbol of corruption.

On Tuesday morning, however, Mas was defiant that he would ride out the legal period for choosing a new premier, at which point new elections will be held. “Given that until January 10 there is life, we will run down the days,” he said in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio.

“I am waiting to see what happens this weekend, as we have waited these last two-and-a-half months,” he said, in reference to a fresh vote by the CUP scheduled for Saturday. “To call new elections, as a number of people are calling for, we have to wait until January 10. Until then I’ll be waiting. I can’t, nor do I want, to call elections,” Mas explained. But the politician did concede that if the CUP rejects him again on January 2, there will be no choice but to call new polls.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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