Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Catalan leader fails to clarify independence from Spain declaration

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has until Monday morning to clarify whether or not he declared independenceMore Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has until Monday morning to clarify whether or not he declared independenceMore
Kenny Thornton | 16 October, 2017, 13:04

The president separatist catalan Carles Puigdemont, the October 10, 2017 to the Parliament.

Catalonia's president is facing a critical decision that could determine the course of the region's secessionist movement to break away from Spain.

His comments came as the deadline set by Madrid to clarify his intentions for the Spanish region came to a close.

Spain's deputy prime minister says that Catalonia's leader didn't give an adequate response in his letter about the region's independence and has until Thursday to comply with the country's laws.

Even so, Puigdemont and other Catalan lawmakers signed a document declaring a Catalan republic "as an independent and sovereign state".

The Spanish government says growing uncertainty over Catalonia, which is deeply indebted to Madrid and which can not borrow internationally, imperils Spain's recovery from the financial crisis.

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had said Mr Puigdemont should answer the formal requirement with a simple "Yes" or "No" and that any ambiguous response would be considered a confirmation that a declaration of independence had been made.

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"Mr Puigdemont still has the opportunity to start resolving this situation, he must answer "yes" or "no" to the declaration (of independence)", Ms Saenz de Santamaria said.

About 90% of those who voted in the referendum backed separating from Spain, but only around 40% of people turned out, with most of those who reject secession boycotting it.

Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero was due to appear before Spain's High Court on Monday to be questioned over whether his force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, deliberately failed to enforce the court ban on the independence referendum.

Catalonia's separatist leader on Monday refused to say whether he had declared independence from Spain, calling for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to settle the country's worst political crisis in a generation. Spain's government had given him a Monday deadline to respond explicitly whether he proclaimed independence.

But he immediately said he was suspending proceedings to allow time for negotiations with Madrid.

Madrid had given Puigdemont until this morning to clarify his position on independence, but the Catalan leader did not directly answer the question.

Last week, following an October 1 referendum that went for Catalonia to break away from Spain, Puigdemont declared independence for the region of 7.5 million people. He called for two months of dialogue and requested that Spanish authorities halt "all repression" in Catalonia.

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