Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Catalonia: Spain celebrates National Day amid political turmoil

Spain's PM to give press statement on Catalonia at 1200 CET Catalan leader given five days to clarify independence stance
Ellis Copeland | 12 October, 2017, 11:12

The Catalan President Carles Puigdemont told the regional parliament on Tuesday that support for independence in the October 1 referendum had earned Catalonia the right to become a separate state.

Spain marks its national day Thursday with a show of unity by opponents of Catalonian independence, a day after the central government gave the region's separatist leader until next week to clarify whether he intends to push ahead with secession.

He did not refer to the violence with which police cracked down on voting day but said "nobody can be proud of the image" Spain projected, adding the only ones to blame were the Catalan leaders.

"There is no mediation possible between democratic law and disobedience, illegality", he told parliament. While talks on the matter will not begin for six months - meaning there is still ample scope to apply 155 - the move could go some way to showing that negotiations are possible if Puigdemont backs away from independence.

"The cabinet has agreed this morning to formally require the Catalan government to confirm whether it has declared independence after the deliberate confusion created over whether it has come into effect", he said in a television address on Wednesday. "The answer from the Catalan president will determine future events, in the next few days". Nearly 90 per cent of 42-percent vote in controversial independence referendum in Catalonia voted for pro-independence vote.

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Catalan lawyers, civil society groups and politicians in Catalonia and elsewhere in Spain have offered to mediate between the two sides, but the prime minister rejected the offers while thanking those who made them.

Opposition Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez offered a compromise of sorts.

The Catalonian separatist drive has raised concern for stability in a European Union still coming to terms with Britain's shock decision to leave the bloc, and Brussels has urged "full respect of the Spanish constitutional order".

The public display of unity comes a day after PM Mariano Rajoy told parliament the country was facing the most serious threat to its 40-year-old democracy, BBC reported. But reaction among separatists in Catalonia was mixed.

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