Spain’s direct rule on Catalonia ends as new government sworn in

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Spain’s direct rule on Catalonia ends as new government sworn in

The new Catalan cabinet was sworn in after months of tensions with the central government, ending Madrid’s seven-month direct rule of the region, imposed by Sanchez’s predecessor after separatists declared independence.

Sanchez, a Socialist who has said he wants talks on Catalonia but opposes any independence referendum, was sworn in about an hour earlier on Saturday, a day after parliament ousted conservative Mariano Rajoy over a corruption scandal.

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 abroad to avoid arrest.

Both sides have said they want to talk. But they have very different targets: Sanchez’s Socialists had backed Rajoy’s Catalonia policy, opposing independence.