Catalonia: Madrid's direct rule ends with new Catalan government
03 June 2018, 08:45 | Isaac Mcdaniel
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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.
Catalan nationalists have regained control of the region after a new government was sworn in.
Rajoy was in attendance at Saturday's ceremony held in the royal Zarzuela Palace and shook Sanchez's hand after the new leader was sworn in by King Felipe VI.
The central government last month recognised the powers of newly-elected Catalan president Quim Torra but refused to ratify his choice of councillors because four of them face charges linked to the failed independence drive, calling their nomination "a new provocation".
The unexpected coincidence of the central and regional governments taking over at the same time could open a new chapter after dramatic months that have seen Catalan politicians jailed or flee overseas to avoid arrest. This would have to be decided during legal proceedings in Spain, they said.
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He called on Sanchez, an untested lawmaker who has never been in government, to meet and talk about Catalonia's future.
"Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, let's talk, let's address this issue, let's take risks, you and us", he said. "We need to sit around the same table and negotiate, government to government".
He has already said he would stick to the 2018 budget crafted by Rajoy's conservatives.
Torra was chosen by Puigdemont to be Catalonia's next leader after separatist parties kept their absolute majority in regional elections in December.
The 46-year-old Sanchez is Spain's seventh prime minister since the return to democracy following the death of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975. Emotional contributions were also made to the region's leader in exile, Carles Puigdemont, and other jailed pro-independence figures.
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