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Spain set to impose direct rule on Catalonia

12 October 2017, 01:03 | Melanie Burgess

Reuters

Reuters

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday said he has asked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to confirm whether or not he has declared independence.

In a press conference after a party meeting, Sanchez explained that "we share Rajoy's (Spanish Prime Minister) decision so that Puigdemont (president of Catalonia) clarifies what he said yesterday". "Maybe, it could help (us) to talk if two people representing the Spanish government and two people representing the Catalan government just simply agree on one thing, for instance, naming a mediator."Puigdemont blamed the current turmoil on the state's response".

"I propose suspending the effects of the declaration of independence to undertake talks in the coming weeks without which it is not possible to reach an agreed solution". And French President Emmanuel Macron rejected Puigdemont's call for European Union mediation, saying he was confident Madrid could handle the situation.

In a highly anticipated speech on Tuesday night, Mr Puigdemont said the landslide victory in a disputed October 1 referendum gave his government in the regional capital, Barcelona, the grounds to implement its long-held desire to break century-old ties with Spain.

Article 155 of the Constitution allows the central government to take some or total control of any of its 17 regions if they do not comply with their legal obligations.

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"This request, before any measure that the government can implement under Article 155 of our Constitution, aims to offer our citizens the clarity and security that such an issue requires", Rajoy said.

Addressing the Catalan Parliament in Barcelona on Tuesday evening, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said: "We call on global states and organisations to recognise the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state".

The move came after the October 1 independence referendum in which 90 per cent of participants voted in favour of splitting from Spain. But it was marred by violence after Spanish police acting on court orders attempted to stop the vote by raiding polling stations, seizing ballot boxes, beating voters and firing rubber bullets at crowds.

European Council President Donald Tusk had urged Puigdemont not to proclaim independence.

Catalonia's separatist camp has grown in recent years, strengthened by Spain's recent economic crisis and by Madrid's rejection of attempts to increase self-rule in the region.



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