Quim Torra, Catalonia's new separatist leader, was sworn in yesterday in a brief ceremony without central government representatives where he avoided promising to obey the constitution and pledged instead to follow "the will of the Catalan people."
"I promise to loyally fulfil the duties of the post of regional president being faithful to the will of the Catalan people represented by the Catalan parliament," he said, using the same formula as his predecessor and mentor Carles Puigdemont.
The 55-year-old did not promise to obey the statute that regulates Catalonia's autonomy either.
He appeared flanked only by a Catalan flag, without the traditional Spanish flag and portrait of the king that protocol states must be present, in a small side-room of the regional government building in Barcelona.
The ceremony marks the end of close to seven months of political limbo in this region of northeastern Spain which has been under direct rule from Madrid since it deposed Puigdemont after a failed declaration of independence on October 27.
Torra, a hardline separatist, was handpicked by Puigdemont, who is currently in Berlin awaiting potential extradition to Spain where he faces jail on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds.