Tuesday, January 22, 2019
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New Catalan leader seeks end of direct rule by Madrid

NEW Catalan leader Quim Torra on Tuesday called for an end to direct rule over the Catalan regional government by Madrid at a joint news conference held in Berlin with former regional leader Carles Puigdemont.
The first aim of the newly formed Catalan government would be to seek dialogue with Madrid, said Torra, who said he had travelled to Berlin to pay homage to former leader Puigdemont whom he called Catalonia's legitimate president.
"I've asked (Spanish Prime Minister) Mr Rajoy for the date and time to start talks, without conditions,"said Torra at the news conference held in a Berlin hotel.
He would attempt to replace the region's previous administration and would seek to put Puigdemont in power again, Torra said, without detailing how he would go about the latter."I see myself as a caretaker president,"he said.
The Catalan parliament voted in hard-line separatist Torra on Monday, bringing an end to seven months of direct rule from Madrid but heralding more political uncertainty.

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