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Catalonia government sworn in, ending Madrid's direct rule

Newly elected and former Catalan Prime Minister Qim Torra and Carles Puigdemont hold a press conference in Berlin on May 15- Puigdemont caused the government shutdown after declaring independence from Spain in October

MADRID-Spain lifted direct rule in Catalonia on Saturday after regional government leaders were sworn in, concluding an unprecedented attempt by Madrid to contain a separatist push that threatened to splinter the country.

Nationalists regained control of Catalonia's regional government as a new cabinet was sworn in, automatically ending just over seven months of direct rule from Madrid by Spain's central government.

Sanchez, whom parliament backed as new prime minister on Friday as it kicked Rajoy out in an unlikely alliance of mainstream Socialists, hard-leftists and Catalan and Basque nationalists, will have a very slim majority in parliament.

Meanwhile, German prosecutors have formally applied to a higher regional court for the extradition of former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont on charges linked to his role in the campaign for the Catalonia region's independence, they said on Friday.

Mr Torra said at the swearing-in ceremony that his government was committed to advancing towards an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic.

Body found of National Guardsman swept away by flood waters
Hermond and others saying she was trying to find her cat behind the building, and when they went to help her look, people saw Mr. One sight during the flood: a handmade, white flag hung from an upper story of a Main Street building bearing the letters SOS.

Both sides have indeed said they want to talk.

In order to cobble together the support to cast out Rajoy, Sanchez promised to open talks with Torra in order to get the votes he needed from the Catalan pro-secession lawmakers in the national parliament.

His Socialists hold just 84 seats in the 350-member assembly, which could make any bold move on the economic or political front - including on Catalonia - hard.

The 46-year-old Sanchez is Spain's seventh prime minister since the return to democracy following the death of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975.

Political tensions escalated in Spain after an independence referendum failed in Catalonia last October.

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