Fresh vote fails to solve stalemate over new Catalan govt

MADRID (AP) — Catalan separatist politician Pere Aragonès failed Tuesday to win a simple majority in the northeastern region’s assembly, in his second attempt in less than a week to become the regional chief.

Lawmakers now have two months to agree on other viable candidates. Otherwise another election must be held.

Aragonès, Catalonia’s acting president since last year, was backed by his left-wing republican ERC party and the far-left and separatist CUP party. Regional lawmakers voted 61-42 Tuesday against his candidacy, with most opposition coming from parties that are against Catalan secessionism.

The 32 lawmakers from Junts per Catalonia, a center-right pro-independence party, abstained from the vote after failing to reach an agreement with Aragonès’ ERC party on how to proceed with efforts to break away from Spain.

Aragonès, 38, failed late last week in his first attempt to win an absolute majority of votes in the regional legislature based in Barcelona to form a government.

The wealthy region of 7.5 million Catalan and Spanish speakers remains deeply divided. Roughly 50% of Catalans want to carve out an independent state, while the other half want to remain a part of Spain.

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