The Catalan Parliament elected Carles Puigdemont as their new president during a vote of the house's deputies in Barcelona, Sunday, solidifying Catalonia's regional government and their plans for secession from the Spanish state. Puigdemont won the vote with 70 votes in favour, 63 against and 2 abstentions.
The new president said he appreciated the support shown in him by the parliament and he would try to be worthy of their trust, ending his short address by saying "long live Catalonia," going on to sing the Catalan national anthem 'The Reapers.'
Former Catalan President Artur Mas stated he would step aside following months of deadlock between secessionist allies the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party and Mas' Junts pel Si (Together for Yes or JxSi).
Catalans have been demanding an agreement for weeks between the two parties which would allow for the inauguration of a new regional government. However, CUP refused to finalise such an agreement unless Mas, a pro-EU and pro-NATO president, step down.
In November, Catalan lawmakers in Barcelona began the process of secession from Spain, with the aim of achieving political independence by 2017, despite strong opposition from Madrid. In a vote held in the Catalan parliament on 9 November, 72 parliamentarians voted in favour of the resolution for secession from Spain, with only 63 voting against.