MADRID — The Latest on the political crisis in Catalonia (all times local):
Catalan lawmakers have ended a half-year power vacuum by electing in a close vote secessionist Quim Torra as the new regional chief.
Torra failed to be elected with an absolute majority in an earlier vote over the weekend. But on Monday, the 135-strong Catalan parliament voted 66-to-65 to support Torra, with the four lawmakers of the far-left anti-establishment CUP party abstaining.
Torra, 55, is a fervent nationalist hand-picked by former leader Carles Puigdemont, who is in Berlin fighting extradition to Spain after being charged for rebellion and misuse of public funds in connection to last year's Catalan independence bid.
The Spanish government is expected to remove the special controls on the Catalan administration after Torra and his new ministers are sworn in later this week.
Catalan presidential hopeful Quim Torra says he will work toward building an independent republic if he is elected as the new chief of the restive region, as expected in a Monday parliamentary vote.
"Everybody will win rights with the republic," Torra told lawmakers. "Nobody will lose rights; the republic is for everybody, no matter what they vote."
Monday's election of the 55-year-old is expected to end six months of leadership vacuum, but Torra's pledges also place the restive northeastern Spanish region in a path for further confrontation with central authorities.
Torra says he will create a "state council in exile," with ousted regional president Carles Puigdemont as "the legitimate president" of Catalonia.
He also vows to establish a constituent assembly to write the constitution for a Catalan republic.
Catalonia's lawmakers are meeting to end more than six months of leadership vacuum by voting in a fervent separatist as the new chief of the restive region, setting the scene for a new confrontation with Spain.
Quim Torra, the former leader of a pro-independence civil society group, has vowed to continue working toward an independent Catalan republic.
He is regarded as a close ally of his predecessor in Catalonia's top job, ousted president Carles Puigdemont, who is fighting extradition to Spain from Germany.
Torra failed to achieve an absolute majority in a first parliamentary vote on Saturday but he's expected to be elected on Monday by simple majority after an anti-capitalist separatist party announced it would abstain.
Central authorities have been ruling Catalonia directly from Madrid since an attempt to declare unilateral independence from Spain in late October.