Hopes for fresh negotiations after President Sánchez and President Torra exchange phone call

– New PSOE and Podemos government set for fresh negotiations with Catalan counterparts

– President Torra prepares to challenge removal from office

– European and Spanish courts clash over status of jailed former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras

Spain’s new left-wing coalition government faces an immediate test over Catalan national rights, as it prepares for a new round of bilateral talks with the Catalan cabinet.

Hopes were raised today (9 January) after it was revealed that the returning Spanish President, Pedro Sánchez, held a phone call with Catalan President Quim Torra where it was agreed new talks would be held after the government was established.

Sánchez was elected the head of the new coalition government – formed by his PSOE party and the left-wing Unidas Podemos – and President of Spain by a two-vote margin the Spanish congress – a success which depended on the abstentions of 18 Basque and Catalan MPs. Though the party with which Torra is aligned – Junts Per Catalunya – voted against Sánchez’s bid, the larger centre-left Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) agreed to abstain in return for new bilateral talks between Spanish and Catalan cabinets.

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