barcelona - The former Catalan Prime Minister Artur Mas is stepping on as leader of the separatist PDeCAT party. He spoke at a press conference about the need to make room for 'new leaders.'
Mas was the regional premier of Carles Puigdemont, who was in charge at the independence referendum last year in Catalonia. Puigdemont later fled to Belgium. Although separatist parties in the province later gained a majority in the regional elections, there is reportedly disagreement about the course to be followed: continue to fight for independence or negotiate with Madrid on more autonomy.
Mas had organized a non-binding referendum on independence in 2014 as prime minister. A Spanish court therefore ruled in March 2017 that he may not hold a public office for two years. The politician then remained at the head of the Catalan party PDeCAT, but said Tuesday that it is now up to other people 'to introduce this project into the future. '