Pro-secession parties losing time to pick Catalonia's leader

Pro-secession parties losing time to pick Catalonia's leader
Separatist lawmaker Quim Torra, candidate for regional president, arrives at a parliamentary session in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, May 12, 2018. The Catalan parliament said Friday that Torra is set to be put forward for election in a vote Saturday. Separatist parties in Catalonia aim to elect one of their own as regional president by early next week, ending five months of political deadlock amid the restive region's attempts to secede from Spain. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Catalonia’s separatists have failed to elect a new leader for the restive Spanish region, likely leaving them with one more chance to form a government before a new election is called.

Candidate Quim Torra fell short on Saturday of the absolute majority of 68 votes needed to be elected in the first round. Torra, a fervent secessionist, will have another chance during a second round on Monday, when only a simple majority of more “yes” than “no” votes is required.

In-fighting among separatist parties left Quim two votes short. Four members of the radical far-left CUP party abstained.

The party plans to decide Sunday how its lawmakers will vote during the second round.

Catalonia’s pro-independence parties risk an election being automatically triggered if they don’t form a government by May 22.