Catalonia gets new leader determined to achieve independence

Catalonia gets new leader determined to achieve independence

Fervent Catalan secessionist Quim Torra has been sworn in as the restive Spanish region’s new leader, with his demands for an independent Catalonia set to prolong a standoff with Spain’s national government.

Torra formally took office at a ceremony in the Catalan capital, Barcelona, on Thursday. He was elected by the Catalan parliament’s secessionist lawmakers on Monday.

In a sign of the simmering tension, Spain’s national government in Madrid, which usually sends a representative to regional government ceremonies, declined to attend the swearing-in. It said Catalan authorities had tried to dictate which central government officials could be present — a condition that Madrid rejected.

The spat over Catalonia’s future has brought Spain’s worst political crisis in decades, though its three main political parties stand united against Catalan independence.

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