Confusion in Catalonia: independence declaration signed but not implemented

Reuters

It is the first time Mr Rajoy has openly said that Article 155 of the Spanish constitution will be the next step taken by the government if Catalan authorities do not backtrack.

Following his declaration to Parliament, Puigdemont and his allies signed an Independence declaration outside the chamber, but its legal validity was unclear.

The central government in Madrid has given little indication it is willing to talk, saying it did not accept the declaration and did not consider the referendum or its results to be valid.

In a much anticipated address to the Catalan Parliament on Tuesday night, President Puigdemont said: "We call on global states and organisations to recognise the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state".

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will chair an emergency cabinet meeting in response to Mr Puigdemont's announcement on Tuesday that he had accepted "the mandate of the people for Catalonia to become an independent republic" following a banned referendum earlier this month. Failing this, Article 155 of the constitution, which allows the central government to suspend a region's political autonomy and rule it directly, would be triggered.

Sanchez and Rajoy had a meeting on Tuesday night to address the political situation in Spain after Puigdemont proposed to suspend the effects of the declaration of independence a few weeks in order to open a process of dialogue.


Spain has been in turmoil since the separatist government held a disputed referendum in Catalonia on 1 October which was declared invalid by the country's Constitutional Court.

He said the "people's will" was to break away from Madrid, but he also said he wanted to "de-escalate" the tension around the issue. However, Rajoy did not specify whether Madrid would assume direct control of Catalonia.

Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria described Puigdemont as someone "who does not know where he is, where he's going".

National police were involved in violent scenes as they tried to stop the vote taking place.

She said Mr Puigdemont had put Catalonia "in the greatest level of uncertainty seen yet". Spanish police cracked down on the polls, beating some voters as they closed down polling stations.

The European Union made clear that if Catalonia split from Spain, the region would cease to be part of the EU.

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