MADRID – Catalonia's newly elected president is showing no sign of backing down from the region's political standoff with Spanish authorities, insisting he wants jailed former lawmakers to join his pro-independence Catalan government.
Quim Torra says Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, prominent secessionists who are in pre-trial detention, are keen to become government ministers and have asked a judge to release them. Torra visited them at their jails near Madrid on Monday.
But Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he won't grant Catalonia independence and won't allow anyone under criminal investigation to take office there.
Torra also wants Antoni Comin and Lluis Puig, separatists who fled to Belgium, in his Cabinet.
Torra's four picks were members of a Catalonia government dismissed by Rajoy following October's illegal declaration of independence by regional lawmakers.