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The Crida Nacional, the new Catalan political party conceived by Carles Puigdemont, has been set on its path this Saturday under the guiding hand of Jordi Sànchez, imprisoned in Catalonia's Lledoners jail while he awaits the forthcoming referendum trial and a possible 17 year prison sentence for rebellion. The new party - whose full name translates as the 'National Call for the Republic' - has today celebrated its founding conference, choosing Sànchez as president and accepting his proposal to select Toni Morral, former mayor of the town of Cerdanyola, as its secretary general. Sànchez's candidacy won 2,417 votes compared with just 115 for the alternative list.

The conference ratified 16 of the proposed party officials proposed by Sanchez and three from the alternative candidature. At the vertex of the organization is exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, the prime mover behind a movement that has been launched as a political party this Saturday at Barcelona's International Convention Centre while chants of "Unity now!" echoed round the hall. Appeals to unity were constant throughout the speeches: in some cases, such as that of the Catalan president Quim Torra, the references were very specific. Torra called on three probable pro-independence Barcelona mayoral candidates, Ernest Maragall, Quim Forn and Neus Munté, to put together a consensus candidature for not only the municipal elections, ​​but also those for the European Parliament.

The leadership team of the Crida will include current Catalan government ministers Elsa Artadi, Damià Calvet and Laura Borrà. Alongside them are leading figures in the JxCat (Together for Catalonia) political grouping, very close to Puigdemont, such as Albert Batet and Gemma Geis.

Among the 19 names proposed by Sànchez are 4 members of the PDeCAT (Catalan Democratic European Party), but only one member of the party's executive: Montserrat Morante, also close to the exiled Catalan president. In fact, current PDeCAT president David Bonvehí, did not attend the Crida's founding congress on Saturday morning, only making an appearance in the afternoon.

The executive proposed by Sànchez also included several politicians with backgrounds in other Catalan parties, such as Pep Andreu, mayor of Montblanc and former member of the Republican Left; Marina Geli, a former minister under the Catalan Socialists; and Miquel Àngel Escobar, a UGT trade union representative, as well as a PDeCAT member.

The alternative list, which was not presented as such but rather as a "complementary" option, called for a vote for Sànchez and Morral as president and general secretary respectively, although under the party rules, it had to present its own candidates for both these positions in order to be able to present 19 names for the executive.