New Catalan cabinet takes office as Spanish PM sworn in

Posted June 03, 2018

The new ministers will take up their posts on Saturday, the regional government announced.

Spain moved swiftly into a new political era yesterday, with not just a new prime minister in Madrid but also the return of Catalan nationalists to power in Barcelona.

"We need to sit down at the same table and negotiate, government to government", he said.

He called on Sanchez, an untested lawmaker who has never been in government, to meet and talk about Catalonia's future.

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Sanchez, a 46-year-old economist who as opposition leader was sharply critical of Catalonia's secession bid, has promised to try to "build bridges" with the region's new government which is still determined to work towards independence. This would have to be decided during legal proceedings in Spain, they said.

His predecessor, the conservative Mariano Rajoy, imposed direct rule over Catalonia at the end of October after nationalists, led by Puigdemont. held an independence referendum deemed illegal by Spanish courts.

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.

Torra was chosen by Puigdemont to be Catalonia's next leader after separatist parties kept their absolute majority in regional elections in December.

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Puigdemont is now in Berlin awaiting potential extradition to Spain, where he faces jail on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds.

Following the vote, Rajoy went over to Sanchez in the chamber and shook the incoming leader's hand.

Unlike the new government in Italy, Sanchez and his party are staunch supporters of the European Union and the shared currency.

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