Rajoy dismisses Puigdemont’s call for meeting
“The person who I would have to sit down with is the winner of the elections, who is Inés Arrimadas,” said the Spanish president
Mariano Rajoy has dismissed Carles Puigdemont’s call for dialogue. Only two hours after the sacked Catalan president asked for a meeting with the Spanish president, “anywhere in Europe”, to begin talks “with no conditions”, his Spanish counterpart turned down his offer.
“The person I would have to sit down with is the winner of the elections, who is Inés Arrimadas,” said Rajoy in a news conference, referring to the leader of Ciutadans, the party that got the most votes in Thursday’s Catalan election.
In fact, Rajoy began the news conference by congratulating Arrimadas for the victory. He also admitted that he had talked to the president of Ciutadans, Albert Rivera, within the previous few hours.
While the unionist party came first in the election, the pro-independence bloc of parties maintained a majority of seats in the Catalan Parliament. It is therefore far more likely that the leader in favor of a Catalan state will become the new president rather than Arrimadas.
“The person I would have to sit down with is the winner of the elections, who is Inés Arrimadas”
Mariano Rajoy · Spanish president
Unionists, not “enough seats” in Parliament
The Spanish president admitted that the unionist parties did not get enough seats to form a government. “The negative point of the election is that those parties that wanted a change didn’t get enough seats,” he said. He also insisted that “pro-independence parties have been losing support”, albeit “less” than he would like.
Rajoy also urged the next Catalan government to “respect the law”. In addition, he offered “cooperation and dialogue” to Catalan leaders, but always “within the rule of law”.
Rajoy defends suspension of Catalan self-rule
The Spanish president also defended the enforcement of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which suspended Catalan self-government. He insisted that Article 155 had been enforced as “it should be done” and warned that the Spanish Constitution must be respected. “I won’t accept someone not respecting the Spanish Constitution,” he warned.
“No one can speak on behalf of Catalonia”
According to Rajoy, the outcome of the election showed that “no one can speak on behalf of Catalonia,” as “it is not a single entity”. “Catalonia is diverse and we have to respect this diversity,” stressed Rajoy.