Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Status of high stakes Spain-Catalonia standoff

Status of high stakes Spain-Catalonia standoff

Catalonia's leader has come under intense pressure to abandon plans to declare independence from Spain after hundreds of thousands of unionists took to the streets at the weekend to protest against the region breaking away.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has formally demanded the Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to clarify whether independence has been declared or not, following the local leader's speech on the October 1 referendum results.

The conflict over a self-determination vote has been dragging on for six years but Catalan separatists staged an independence referendum on October 1 despite Spain's insistence it was illegal.

But the Spanish government, buoyed by yesterday's protests in Barcelona, the Catalan capital, have made it clear it would respond immediately to any such vote.

That article allows the central government to take control of an autonomous region, if it fails to "fulfill the obligations imposed upon it by the constitution or other laws, or acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain".

To get there would require pressure from Spain's European Union partners, said Ross, who advised the Catalan government from July 2013 to September 2015 and is a committed advocate of self-determination. If it has, he said, his party would back any action the national government decides on to maintain Spain's unity. If Puigdemont was to confirm he did declare independence, he would be given an additional three days to rectify it, until Thursday, Oct. 19 at 0800 GMT.

"If he's watching us, if he's listening, stop everything and don't declare unilateral independence", he told reporters in Barcelona.

Invoking Article 155 to ease Spain's worst political crisis in four decades would make prospects of a negotiated solution even more remote.

Losing Catalonia, which has its own language and culture, would deprive Spain of a fifth of its economic output and more than a quarter of exports.

The crisis has also reopened old divisions in a nation where fascism is a living memory easily revived by strong displays of nationalism. Spanish police, ordered to prevent the referendum, clashed with voters and supporters, and Catalan officials said over 900 people were injured. The markets and investors are confident that Spain would be able to broker a deal internally, especially as Mr Puigdemont offered a window for the possibility of dialogue with Madrid yesterday.

Will suspend Catalonia's autonomy by running article.

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