Catalonia authorities announce new cabinet, pave way for Madrid to end direct rule

Catalan authorities announced their new cabinet on Friday, excluding four nominees under investigation for their role in its independence drive, Reuters reports. The move paves the way for Madrid to end direct rule over the region. The news coincided with the departure of Mariano Rajoy as Spain’s prime minister, voted out of office by parliament on Friday and replaced by Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez. Sanchez said on Thursday that he could resume dialogue with Barcelona. Rajoy imposed direct rule on the region in October after an independence referendum that Spanish courts declared illegal. The Catalan government said on Friday that its new cabinet members would take office on Saturday at 0930 GMT.