Catalan leader-elect demands dialogue with Spanish govt

Catalan leader-elect demands dialogue with Spanish govt
Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, left, and Catalan president Quim Torra, right, attend a news conference in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN (AP) — Catalonia’s president-elect is calling on Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to talk with the region’s separatist leaders, a call he made as he visits his predecessor in Berlin.

Catalan lawmakers in Barcelona elected separatist Quim Torra on Monday to lead their region. He has vowed to build an independent Catalan republic by working under the leadership of predecessor Carles Puigdemont, who is in Germany fighting extradition to Spain.

At a joint news conference with Puigdemont in Berlin on Tuesday, Torra said: “Please, Mr. Rajoy, put a date and a place and we will be there … no preconditions, let’s talk about everything, but let’s talk.”

Torra, whose election ended a several-month leadership vacuum, said he also wants to visit all the separatist leaders held in Spanish jails over last year’s outlawed independence referendum.