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Catalan Parliament to vote declaration of independence if Madrid suspends self-rule

Spanish govt ignores calls for dialogue and responds that Article 155 of Spanish Constitution will be invoked

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19 October 2017 11:33 AM

by

Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

The Catalan president invited his Spanish counterpart to open a dialogue and said that the Catalan parliament had not voted on the declaration of independence on October 10. He made that clear in a letter on Thursday responding to Madrid’s official request for clarification on a declaration of independence. However, despite his remarks, the Spanish government says it will enforce Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which allows it to suspend Catalonia’s self-rule. Its spokesman announced the decision shortly after receiving President Puigdemont’s letter.

Spain’s reaction makes a full-fledged declaration of independence now much more likely to be voted in the Catalan parliament. The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, also said in the letter that “if the Spanish government insists on blocking dialogue and continuing repression, the Catalan Parliament may proceed, if appropriate, to vote on the formal declaration of independence that it did not vote on on October 10.” Indeed, Puigdemont told his party’s top officials on Wednesday evening that if Spain ends up suspending Catalonia’s self-rule, he will lift the freeze on the declaration of independence. 

  • "If the Spanish government insists on blocking dialogue and continuing repression, the Catalan parliament may proceed to vote on the formal declaration of independence"

    Carles Puigdemont · Catalan president

And the likelihood of that happening is now very high. Madrid had set a deadline for Puigdemont to clarify if he declared independence on October 10 in the parliamentary session. Should he fail to clarify, the suspension of Catalonia’s self-rule would be enforced, Rajoy’s cabinet stated. The deadline expired on Thursday at 10am. A few minutes before the deadline, the Catalan president sent the letter in which he again called for dialogue.

Spanish government to meet on Saturday to agree on measures

Just before 11am the Spanish executive announced that Puigdemont had not answered their request for clarification. And therefore, Madrid will enforce Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. That is, they will impose direct rule on Catalonia. Mariano Rajoy’s cabinet will meet in an extraordinary session on Saturday in order to agree on the specific measures to be taken in the coming days.  

The head of the Catalan government also stated in his missive that Mariano Rajoy has so far ignored his call for dialogue. Puigdemont asked for a meeting with his Spanish counterpart in a letter last Monday. He also asked him to “reverse the repression on the Catalan people.” However, some hours after the letter was delivered, Spain’s National Court upheld holding two Catalan pro-independence civil leaders in prison. Because of that, Puigdemont said in his second letter that repression has “increased” in the past few days.

‘Higher percentage of voters in favor of independence than Brexit in the UK,’ says Puigdemont

“Despite all these efforts and our will to open a dialogue, the fact that your only response is the suspension of our self-government shows a lack of awareness of the problem and a lack of willingness to speak,” he added. In the letter, he also reminded his counterpart that more people voted for independence on October 1 than for the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia in a referendum in 2006. Besides, he also claims that a higher percentage of voters supported independence than supported Brexit in the UK. 

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  • The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, before starting his speech

  • The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, before starting his speech

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