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Catalan challenge to Spain’s new PM

Kiss: Pedro Sánchez with wife María PICTURE: GETTY

JAILED Catalan leader Jordi Sànchez has challenged the Spanish government to drop its belief in the ‘indisputable unity’ of the country.

That was the only way to resolve the nation’s political ‘crisis’, he said.

Solving the stand-off between Madrid and the regional government in Catalonia is a priority for Spain’s new Socialist prime minister Pedro Sánchez, who was sworn in on Saturday.

He took power after a no-confidence vote in his People’s Party predecessor Mariano Rajoy. Catalan president Quim Torra called on the new PM to hold talks with him ‘government to government’.

Meanwhile, Mr Sànchez, who has been in jail for eight months over his alleged role in the run-up to an unofficial Catalan independence referendum last year, told The Guardian: ‘Spain has to exchange the principle of the indisputable unity of the homeland for the principle of the indisputable mandate of the popular will of citizens expressed at the ballot box.’