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Defense Minister pledges to do “whatever it takes” to stop independence referendum

The Spanish Minister of Defense and Secretary General of the ruling People’s Party, Maria Dolores de Cospedal, warned on Thursday that the Spanish government will use “all of the tools” at its disposal to avoid the celebration of an independence referendum in Catalonia. De Cospedal said that the Catalans’ plan to hold a self-determination vote is an “assault on the Constitutional system” and “the law”. According to the minister, the Spanish Government will not “bow to threats or blackmail” and will act “intelligently but with determination” if Catalonia goes ahead with a vote. “We are determined to stop ballot boxes being put out there,” she insisted, warning that anyone who “collaborates” with the organization of the referendum will “have to face the consequences and criminal charges”. “Everyone should respect the law,” she pointed out, warning that those who “manufacture ballot boxes, put out ballot boxes, or offer spaces as polling stations” will logically have to face the consequences.

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25 May 2017 01:23 PM

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ACN

Madrid (ACN).- The Spanish Minister of Defense and Secretary General of the ruling People’s Party, Maria Dolores de Cospedal, warned on Thursday that the Spanish government will use “all of the tools” at its disposal to avoid the celebration of an independence referendum in Catalonia. De Cospedal said that the Catalans’ plan to hold a self-determination vote is an “assault on the Constitutional system” and “the law”. According to the minister, the Spanish Government will not “bow to threats or blackmail” and will act “intelligently but with determination” if Catalonia goes ahead with a vote.  “We are determined to stop ballot boxes being put out there,” she insisted, warning that anyone who “collaborates” with the organization of the referendum will “have to face the consequences and criminal charges”. “Everyone should respect the law,” she pointed out, warning that those who “manufacture ballot boxes, put out ballot boxes, or offer spaces as polling stations” will logically have to face the consequences. 


The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, wrote on Wednesday to his Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, to seek the start of negotiations for an independence referendum. With the support of the parliamentary majority of the Catalan Parliament, and with polls saying that up to 80% of Catalans are in favor of such a vote, Puigdemont said to Rajoy that he is willing to “find a political and negotiated solution to the demands of the Catalan people to decide their own future”.

Puigdemont has always stressed that his preferred option is a referendum with the agreement of the Spanish Government, but has warned repeatedly that the vote will go ahead anyway in autumn if Madrid does not sit down at the negotiating table. The Spanish Government has not shown any willingness to engage in the referendum discussions and has even intensified the tone against the Catalan Government, accusing it of planning a coup d’état. 

 

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  • The PP's 'number 2', María Dolores de Cospedal, in Barcelona on Friday (by R. Garrido)

  • The PP's 'number 2', María Dolores de Cospedal, in Barcelona on Friday (by R. Garrido)