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Catalan's new president assumes office

The new Catalan president takes his oath
The new Catalan president takes his oath
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By Mark Armstrong
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Quim Torra has promised to be faithful to the Catalan people and its parliament

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New Catalan leader Quim Torra was sworn-in on Thursday, bringing an end to seven months of direct rule from Madrid. There is still uncertainty as the hard-line separatist continues his fight to split from Spain. The fervent Catalan nationalist was elected by regional MP's earlier this week by 66 votes to 65.

"I promise I will loyally execute the obligations that come with the presidency of the Catalan regional government," said Torra, taking his oath. "Remaining faithful to the will of the Catalan people represented by the Catalan parliament."

Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy has offered talks with Torra although he stressed that they would have to be within the law.

He met with the leader of the increasingly popular Citizens Party on Thursday and afterward Albert Rivera was uncompromising:

"With a racist president like Mr. Torra, with a president that hates the majority of Catalonians who consider themselves Spanish, with a president who will firstly report back to a fugitive of justice like Mr. Puigdemont, I think that is not the moment for considerations and good manners."

The Citizens Party considers Torra to be a puppet for Carles Puigdemont, who remains in self-imposed exile after last year's October referendum when separatists unilaterally declared independence. Torra refers to Puigdemont as the president of Catalonia.

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