Spain’s central government in Madrid will suspend Catalonia’s autonomy unless the region stops its push for independence, a high official said on Wednesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Soraya de Santamaria gave the warning a day before the Thursday deadline for Catalonia’s leader to declare independence or dismiss a referendum result.
After positive results of the Oct 1 independence referendum, Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont signed a declaration of independence but blocked its implementation until negotiations could occur between Madrid and Barcelona.
Spain gave the deadline to clarify whether it has declared independence or not in response to Mr.Puigdemont’s speech on Oct 10.
If Puigdemont declares independence on Thursday, he will be given another three days to rescind the declaration before Article 155 of the national constitution is triggered, according to Efe news agency.
If the article is activated, Catalonia would lose the right to its semi-autonomy and be put under direct rule by Madrid.
Two separatists arrested
Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart are being held by the national police and investigated for sedition – a move which many see as a politically motivated arrest.
Both Jordi’s were leading figures during the independence vote on Oct 1.
Mandate to declare independence
Mr.Puigdemont said the independence referendum results gave his regional government a mandate to declare independence, but that he would hold off “a few weeks” to explore negotiations with Madrid.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that his officials had asked Catalonia to clarify whether a declaration had been given, with a deadline of five days, according to local media.
If Catalonia confirms independence, Puigdement will be given another three days to rescind the declaration before Article 155 of the national constitution is triggered, according to Efe news agency.
The constitution allows Madrid to dismiss the region’s current semi-autonomy and launch direct rule on Catalonia after the three days.
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