Catalonia: Spain Ultimatum Looms over Independence Push
Albanian Daily News
Published October 19, 2017
Tough choices: How will Carles Puigdemont (L) answer Mariano Rajoy's ultimatum?Catalonia's leader Carles Puigdemont is facing a final deadline to drop a secession bid, with Spain warning it will suspend the region's autonomy if he fails to do so by 10:00 (08:00 GMT).
After a referendum on 1 October, he signed an independence declaration but then suspended it, asking for dialogue.
Reports suggest he will press ahead on independence if Madrid moves to take direct control.
There are fears that this may lead to civil unrest in Catalonia.
Article 155 of Spain's 1978 constitution, which cemented democratic rule after the death of dictator General Franco three years earlier, allows Madrid to impose direct rule in a crisis but it has never been invoked.
In the lead-up to the deadline, there have been mass protests over the detention of two leaders of the separatist movement.
Political leaders in Madrid and Barcelona have been engaged in a tense stand-off since the disputed referendum, which Catalan leaders say resulted in a "Yes" vote for independence but which the central government regards as illegal.
What is Madrid's position?
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy set the deadline for Mr Puigdemont to offer a definitive answer on the independence question, and has called on him to "act sensibly".
"It's not that difficult to reply to the question: Has Catalonia declared independence? Because if it has, the government is obliged to act in one way, and if it has not, we can talk here," he said in parliament on Wednesday.
The man who wants to break up Spain
This is a second and final deadline, as Madrid says Mr Puigdemont on Monday failed to clarify whether he had declared independence.