BARCELONA, Spain – The Latest on the struggle to form a new government in Spain's secession-minded Catalonia region (all times local):
The Catalan Parliament speaker has set a Thursday afternoon vote to elect as the next regional president a former separatist minister who could be indicted on rebellion charges only one day after.
Speaker Roger Torrent made a hastily called appearance in the regional parliament to announce that Jordi Turull, the former chief of the Catalan Presidency, has the widest support to be voted in as the Spanish region's next president.
Turull is the third separatist candidate to be proposed, following foiled attempts to re-elect the ousted president and now fugitive Carles Puigdemont, and the jailed pro-independence activist Jordi Sanchez, who withdrew earlier on Wednesday.
Spanish Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena has announced that he's wrapping a probe into last year's illegal attempt to secede Catalonia from Spain. He is set to issue indictments, and possibly charges that would ban Turull from holding office, on Friday morning.
The speaker of Catalonia's assembly says he will start a new round of political contacts this week to propose a new candidate for regional president after a jailed separatist activist dropped his bid.
Separatist parties had proposed Jordi Sanchez as the next chief, but Spain's top court banned him from attending the vote and made his election nearly impossible.
Sanchez faces possible sedition and other charges amid an ongoing probe into the region's attempt last year to gain independence from Spain.
Speaker Roger Torrent on Wednesday read out a letter in which Sanchez renounced his parliamentary seat. "It is the best service I can do now for the country," Sanchez wrote.
The semi-autonomous region has been without a president for nearly five months after central authorities fired the regional government and took direct control of Catalonia's affairs.