Catalan leader given five days to clarify independence stance

A trader talks on the phone at Madrid's Bourse

A trader talks on the phone at Madrid's Bourse

Mr Rajoy's demand was in response to Mr Puigdemont's announcement that he was proceeding with a declaration of independence following the disputed secession referendum Catalonia held on October 1, but suspending the move for several weeks to facilitate negotiations.

"(Puigdemont's) first reaction has been to insist on establishing a "bilateral dialogue" with Spain with "no prior conditions"; backpedalling on independence would only lead to an even bigger disappointment within the secessionist camp", he said in a note Wednesday.

Both deadlines have been included in a formal demand sent to the Catalan government.

Speaking in parliament yesterday, the prime minister said the referendum was part of a strategy "to impose independence that few want and is good for nobody".

Rajoy said "It is duty of Catalan leaders to ensure constitutional normality", and rejected any mediation effort.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said any unilateral independence move would be "irresponsible" and France said it would not recognise Catalonia's "illegal" bid for statehood.

Catalonia's separatist leader backed away from an immediate declaration of independence from Spain on Tuesday and this has reduced tensions significantly.

Rajoy, who has refused to rule out invoking article 155 of the Spanish constitution to take control of Catalonia, was quick to seize on the ambiguity of Puigdemont's position, accusing him of deliberately sowing confusion.

Then, the Senate could be called to approve the measure.

While separatist leaders say 90 percent of voters opted to split from Spain in the unofficial October referendum, less than half of the region's eligible voters actually turned out.

The deadline set the clock ticking on Spain's most serious political emergency since its return to democracy four decades ago.

He said his party and Rajoy's People's Party had agreed to renegotiate the laws that provide certain areas of autonomy to Spain's 17 regions, including Catalonia. But he also said that he and Rajoy had agreed that there should be a commission to examine the possibility of changing the way the country's autonomous regions are governed through constitutional reform.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.