By Dave Jamieson
CATALUÑA has narrowly avoided a second regional election following a deal last Saturday which has seen the region’s former leader make a dramatic U-turn. Meanwhile, the national government of Mariano Rajoy has still not formed a working coalition following the December 20 general election.
Artur Mas, who has been acting leader of Cataluña since a regional vote last September, has agreed to step down after three months of refusing to do so. His hand was forced by the far-left Catalan CUP party whose members had voted not to support his bid to be re-elected as president.
The 10 elected CUP deputies held the key to power in Cataluña after Junts pel Sí, Mas’s separatist coalition, failed to win an absolute majority. If no viable government had been formed by Monday, of this week, Sr Mas would have been forced by law to call a new election.
However, Saturday’s deal has resulted in the CUP supporting the coalition, after it was agreed that the 53-year-old mayor of Girona, Carles Puigdemont, would become the new Catalan premier and that two CUP deputies will work within Junts pel Sí.