Catalonia government sworn in, ending Madrid's direct rule

Jun 03, 2018, 20:45
Catalonia government sworn in, ending Madrid's direct rule

Catalonia's new separatist government will be sworn in Saturday, the regional presidency announced, which will spark the automatic end of Madrid's direct rule over the region.

Nationalists regained control of Catalonia's regional government as a new cabinet was sworn in, automatically ending just over seven months of direct rule from Madrid by Spain's central government.

Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez has been sworn in as Spain's prime minister by King Felipe VI.

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"Pedro Sanchez, let us talk, take risks, both you and I, let us sit down at a table and talk, government to government", Torra said after swearing in his Cabinet in Barcelona.

The unexpected coincidence of the central and regional governments taking power minutes apart could open a new chapter after dramatic months that have seen Catalan politicians jailed or flee overseas to avoid arrest. Spain's Constitution calls the nation "indivisible" and says national sovereignty resides in the Madrid-based parliament. Emotional contributions were also made to the region's leader in exile, Carles Puigdemont, and other jailed pro-independence figures.

Autonomy was suspended after Catalonia's unilateral declaration of independence last October, which was declared illegal in the courts.

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That takeover came to an end on Saturday after Torra formed his government, as stipulated by the Senate when it granted the central government the extraordinary powers to intervene in the running of the region. Rajoy then organised snap elections in Catalonia in December, hoping opponents of independence would win, but that backfired when voters gave separatists a majority.

However, they did defend the charge of "rebellion" against Puigdemont, saying that evidence provided by Madrid had shown "that the violence in Catalonia on election day can be attributed to the wanted individual".

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