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The New Prime-Minister of Spain and the Catalan Case

NBC News

Mariano Rajoy was stripped of the Spanish presidency on June 1 after a motion of no-confidence against him was successful. The motion got 180 votes in favor, 169 votes against and 1 abstention in the Spanish Congress. Catalan pro-independence parties, PDeCAT and ERC, and the Basque Nationalist Party had agreed to support motion the day before.

Pedro Sanchez, the new Prime-Minister and Socialist leader, before the voting had promised to open dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan governments, so he got 36 votes out of 47 Catalan MPs’.

After 219 days, the direct rule in Catalonia was lifted. However, the changes in Spanish Government were perceived ambiguously in Catalonia, as the new Prime-Minister was famous for his criticism against the pro-independence movement.

The deposed Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, reacted to it on Twitter. "If we wanted vengeance, today we could call ourselves satisfied. But as we want justice, today we still have nothing to celebrate. There is still a long battle and a long road ahead to defeat the injustices, which are numerous and long-lasting," he twitted.

Generally, there are high expectations for Sanchez among Catalan leaders. According to Catalan media, although the direct rule of Catalonia was lifted, there are at least seven challenges ahead for Torra’s cabinet, such as recovery from the effects of direct rule, control of finances, moving forward towards the construction of an independent republic, dialogue with Spain, the problem of jailed and exiled leaders, Catalan case abroad, day-to-day governance, etc.

However, the most important and principal issue for Catalonia at the moment is dialogue with Spain, as the other mentioned cases are mostly dependent to this one. So Catalan leader Quim Torra has called for ''urgent'' talks with new Spanish president. Even the Catalan Socialists leader Miquel Iceta is sure that dialogue between Spanish and Catalan governments is needed, ''even if the latter aims for independence''. So, Catalonia is waiting for an answer from Spain.

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