Catalonia’s separatists weighed their options Sunday ahead of a week that will see Spain take the drastic step of sacking the region’s government as well as calling fresh elections to try and stop the country breaking up.
The Spanish government moved decisively Saturday to use a previously untapped constitutional power so it can take control of Catalonia and derail the independence movement led by separatist politicians in the prosperous industrial region.
In his second intervention in the secession crisis, Spain's King Felipe VI has said Catalonia “is and will remain” an essential part of the country. He told an awards ceremony in the northern city of Oviedo that the Catalan government was causing a rift and Spain would solve the problem through democratic institutions.
Spain is to hold a special Cabinet meeting at the weekend to activate measures to take control of Catalonia’s semi-autonomous powers after the region’s leader said he would formally declare independence if no talks were offered.
Spain’s deputy prime minister has said that Catalonia’s leader did not give an adequate response in his letter about the region’s independence and has until Thursday to comply with the country’s laws. Carles Puigdemont’s letter, issued two hours before a Monday deadline, did not clarify whether he in fact declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain. He called for talks with Spain’s government.
Catalonia’s leader faced mounting pressure on Friday from all sides, with hardliners in the separatist movement demanding he declare independence from Spain once and for all. Spain’s government and the European Union, on the other hand, want him to abandon the secession plans altogether.
Spain is preparing to celebrate its National Day, 12th October, amid a continuing political crisis sparked by Catalonia's disputed independence referendum. The public display of unity comes a day after PM Mariano Rajoy told parliament the country was facing the most serious threat to its 40-year-old democracy.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is facing growing pressure to drop plans to break from Spain ahead of a key address to the regional parliament. There has been speculation that he could announce a unilateral declaration of independence following a disputed referendum. France and Germany have both expressed support for a united Spain.
Catalonia will declare independence from Spain in a matter of days, the leader of the autonomous region has told the BBC. In his first interview since Sunday's referendum, Carles Puigdemont said his government would “act at the end of this week or the beginning of next”.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said on Sunday that the Spanish region has won the right to statehood following a contentious referendum that was marred by violence. He said the door had been opened to a unilateral declaration of independence. Catalan officials later said 90% of those who voted backed independence in Sunday's vote. The turnout was 42.3%.