SECOND WIND

New Catalan Government Vows Renewed Independence Bid

Catalonia’s newly sworn in government has vowed to launch a new bid for independence after last year’s failed attempt resulted in a seven-month takeover by Madrid. Quim Torra, the separatist leader of Catalonia, effectively ended Madrid’s rule of the region by swearing in a new Cabinet on Saturday. “This government is committed to moving towards an independent state in the form of a republic,” Torra said after the swearing-in ceremony. He openly invited new Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to sit down and talk about Catalonia’s breakaway ambitions. “Let’s talk, let’s deal with this question, let’s take risks, you and us. We need to sit around the same table and negotiate, government to government,” he said. Sanchez, who was sworn in about an hour before Torra’s offer, has previously said he would oppose any independence referendum by Catalonia. The region’s 2017 referendum, which was declared illegal by Spanish authorities, led to violent protests and the jailing of several Catalan politicians.