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Catalonia elects new leader tasked with breakaway from Spain

Carles Puigdemont speaks during an investiture debate for the Catalan Government's presidency, at the Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona on January 10, 2016A fiercely secessionist leader was elected president of the wealthy region of Catalonia thanks to a last-minute show of unity, giving fresh impetus to attempts to break away from Spain after months of infighting. The appointment of Carles Puigdemont, just hours before a deadline which would have forced fresh regional elections, drew an immediate rebuke from Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. “The government won’t allow a single act that could harm the unity and sovereignty of Spain,” Rajoy warned in a live televised appearance in Madrid.

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