MADRID / BARCELONA (Reuters) – Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gave eight days Wednesday Catalan government to abandon the independence of supply, otherwise would be to suspend the political autonomy of Catalonia and direct rule the region. Its movement could deepen the confrontation between Madrid and the northeast region, but also an exit to the greater political crisis of Spain since a military coup in 1981 failed.
Rajoy will probably convene a quick regional election after activating Article 155 of the constitution that would allow him to dismiss the Catalan regional government. The Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont issued a symbolic declaration of independence from Spain on Tuesday, but immediately suspended it and called for negotiations with the Madrid government. “The government agreed this morning to formally request the Catalan government to confirm whether Catalonia’s independence was declared, despite the deliberate confusion of its implementation,” Rajoy said in a televised address. answer.
He then told the Spanish parliament that the Catalan government had until Monday, October 16 at 08:00 GMT to respond. If Puigdemont confirmed that he had declared his independence, he would be given three more days to rectify it, until Thursday, 19 October at 08:00 GMT. Otherwise, section 155 would be activated. It is still unclear whether the Catalan government will meet the requirement but faces an enigma, say analysts. If Puigdemont says that he has proclaimed independence, the central government will intervene. If he says he did not state it, then the CUP of the far-left party would likely withdraw its support for its minority government.
“Rajoy has two objectives: if Puigdemont remains ambiguous, the independence movement is more fragmented: if Puigdemont insists on the defense of independence, Rajoy apply article 155,” said Antonio Barroso, deputy director of the research firm “In In any case, Rajoy’s objective would be to re-establish the rule of law in Catalonia and this could lead at some point to early elections in the region. ” The stakes are high: lose Catalonia, which has its own language and culture, Spain a fifth of its economic output and more than a quarter of exports.
APPEAL TO REJECTED DIALOGUE
Puigdemont was expected to unilaterally declare Catalonia’s independence on Tuesday after the Catalan government said 90% of Catalans voted for a referendum break on October 1. The central authorities of Madrid declared the referendum illegal and most opposition opponents boycotted it, reducing participation to about 43 percent.
Madrid reacted angrily to Puigdemont’s speech before the Catalan Parliament, saying that his government could not follow the results of the referendum. “Neither M. Puigdemont nor anyone can claim, without returning to legality and democracy, to impose mediation … Dialogue between democrats held under the law,” said Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria. Invoking Article 155 to appease Spain’s worst political crisis in four decades would further distort prospects for a negotiated solution.
A spokesman for the Catalan government in Barcelona said Wednesday that if Madrid embarked on this path, it would continue its efforts to create a state. “Absolutely nothing we have left … We take the time … which does not mean a step back, a resignation or something like that,” said Jordi Turull, spokesman for the Catalan government at Catalunya Radio.
Spanish Socialist opposition leader Pedro Sánchez said he would support Rajoy if he activated article 155 and agreed with the prime minister to launch a constitutional reform in six months to determine how Catalonia could better integrate in Spain. It is not known how the Catalan government would respond to this offer.