Catalan separatists pick new candidate for regional leader

Separatist parties in Catalonia are backing the former head of a pro-independence group to become the Spanish region's new president.

Catalonia's former president said Thursday that regional lawmaker Quim Torra has enough support in the Catalan parliament to be elected and end months of political deadlock. Torra used to lead Omnium Cultural, a grassroots group that favors the region's secession.

Former president Carles Puigdemont made the announcement in a YouTube video after conferring with pro-independence groups. Puigdemont is in Germany, fighting extradition to Spain to face charges related to a failed independence bid he led last year.

Spanish courts have blocked previous attempts by Catalonia's separatist parties to elect Puigdemont or other candidates who face criminal charges for leading moves to break away from Spain last year.

Torra has not been charged.