Catalan separatists agree to form regional govt after Mas steps aside

Catalan regional caretaker president Artur Mas speaks during a press conference in Barcelona on January 9, 2016Catalonia’s separatists on Saturday struck a last-minute agreement to form a new regional government that will work towards independence from Spain, with controversial secessionist leader Artur Mas stepping aside to seal the deal. “This is not an easy decision, but it is a coherent decision,” Mas told a press conference, saying he did what was necessary to save the independence drive in the wealthy northeast region of 7.5 million. “I am stepping aside and will not be standing as a Together for Yes candidate for the re-election of president of the regional government,” Mas said, naming Girona mayor Carles Puigdemont as his replacement.

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