Catalonia government sworn in, ending Madrid's direct rule

Quim Torra, Catalonia's separatist president, called on Pedro Sanchez, the new Spanish prime minister, to "take risks" and negotiate.

But they have very different targets, with Spain's Socialists, who had backed Rajoy's Catalonia policy, opposing independence.

Sanchez, whom parliament backed as new prime minister on Friday as it kicked Rajoy out in an unlikely alliance of mainstream Socialists, hard-leftists and Catalan and Basque nationalists, will have a very slim majority in parliament.

"This government is committed to moving towards an independent state in the form of a republic", Torra said.

The move comes a day after conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was dismissed by Spain's parliament.

Spain sacked the Catalan regional government led by Puigdemont after a declaration of independence that followed a banned secession referendum on October 1.


Mr. Sanchez, a 46-year-old economist who as Opposition leader was sharply critical of Catalonia's independence bid, has promised to try to "build bridges" with the wealthy region's new separatist government.

The ceremony in the regional presidency building in Barcelona was heavy with anti-Spanish symbolism.

Torra is a fervent Catalan nationalist and was hand picked by former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to succeed him.

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.

Earlier this week, Torra nominated a new administration which did not include them, prompting Madrid to give its green light.

Puigdemont is fighting extradition from Germany to Spain where he is sought on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds.


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