The leader of Catalonia's regional government, Quim Torra, has dismissed Thursday's court ruling that bars him from holding elected office for 18 months as biased, pledging to appeal it.
In a special address broadcast by the Spanish 24 Horas TV channel, Torra accused the court of bias, arguing that the trial was conducted with "irregularities" and "in the interests of the Spanish government."
According to the politician, the trial aimed to "change the president of the government elected by millions of Catalans."
"The Spanish state is trying to remove the president of the Catalan government … I cannot be stripped of powers for political reasons by a court, it can only be done by the Catalan parliament," he said.
He pledged that his defence would appeal the verdict, adding that one should "seek justice outside Spain if it is absent here."
In an interview with Catalan television, Torra’s lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, confirmed that his client would appeal the ruling.
According to the lawyer, the court’s decision does not have an immediate effect, and Torra has the right to remain in office until the final verdict. He specified that the defence had five days to lodge an appeal.
If Torra is finally barred from office, it may trigger a new regional election and further stoke tensions around the secessionist autonomous community.