Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Catalonia could declare independence next week, indicates leader

People placed flowers outside polling stations which had been sites of violent clashes during the vote People placed flowers outside polling stations which had been sites of violent clashes during the vote
Lillian Steele | 06 October, 2017, 00:43

The final results are not in yet, suggesting a declaration later this week or early next week, said a Financial Times report.

When asked by the BBC what Puigdemont would do if the Spanish government were to intervene and take control of Catalonia's government, he said it would be "an error which changes everything".

Mr Tajani said: "Ok, you've shown the flag".

On Wednesday, in a televised address, Puigdemont renewed his call for global mediation but said the results of the referendum would have to be applied. However, Spain's central government hopes to solve the problem itself and restore the constitutional order in the wealthy northeastern region. "I'm convinced that, right now, not one worldwide or national investor will take part in a new investment project until this is cleared up", he said.

Instead, Spain s King Felipe VI sided squarely with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy s government on Tuesday evening as he addressed the nation over an escalating crisis between Catalan separatist leaders and Madrid.

With Spain's worst constitutional crisis in decades deepening, for the King to comment directly on a political event in or outside the country is nearly unprecedented.

Police seized ballot boxes, pulled people out of polling stations and fired rubber bullets at protesters - with hundreds reportedly injured.

"We have lost our fear", said Jordi Casals, a 39-year-old councilor for the center-left Esquerra Republicana party in the town of Torello.

"There is no going back" after the speech, said Hernandez.

Casals said that when he entered politics over a decade ago, separatist rallies attracted just a few thousand people.

More than 2 million Catalans voted to break off from Spain on October 1, in a referendum that was banned by the Constitutional Court and repressed violently by Spanish police. However, unionists mostly boycotted the referendum.

EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans on Wednesday called for both sides to talk to one another. On Monday, he said: "It would be a mediation in which there must be a commitment to re-establish the institutional normalcy".

He is expected to appear in front of the Catalan parliament to make the independence declaration on Monday where the pro-Independence members hold a slim majority.

Catalan leaders claim around 800,000 people were prevented from voting due to the Guardia Civil's tactics.

"Whenever we have trusted the Spanish state, they have cheated us". Photographs and videos of police pulling voters out by their hair and kicking them on stairs flashed around the world, sparking criticism, but Spain says the police did what they had to do.

"What kind of democracy - particularly an European Union member state - attacks its citizens for wanting to vote?"

One of these could be to invoke article 155 of the Constitution, which allows the state to take powers away from a semi-autonomous region of Spain if "it doesn t fulfil the duties imposed by the Constitution or other laws".

Many in the global community are calling for open dialogue and mediation.

In Serbia, officials accused the European Union of double standards by refusing to recognize Catalonia's vote and at the same time supporting the independence of Serbia's former province Kosovo. This would leave Rajoy with the option of invoking the constitution to suspend the Catalan government and to bring on regional elections.

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