ORIOL Junqueras, the jailed leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), has said Catalonia’s president, Quim Torra, should set an election date before the judiciary disqualifies him from office and starts the election clock.

Torra was banned from public office for 18 months in December for refusing to remove yellow ribbons – symbols of support for Catalonia’s political prisoners – from public buildings.

He has managed to remain in office, but that has strained the working relationship between his Together for Catalonia (JxCat) party and ERC, its coalition partner.

In a written interview with the Spanish Radio and TV Corporation’s Radio 4, Junqueras said: “It is clear

we cannot let political and electoral times be set by the Supreme Court, but by the political forces that support the government.

“However, for this to happen, future decisions and scenarios need to be agreed among members of the governing coalition.

“Decisions cannot continue to be made without consulting the Government partner for pure electoral tactics … We have a fundamental common goal which is the Catalan Republic, the independence of our country.

“We must always work to add, not subtract.”