Spain gives Catalan leader 5 days to clarify independence

Spain gives Catalan leader 5 days to clarify independence

Triggering Article 155 would allow Rajoy to suspend Catalonia's devolved government and take over control from Madrid.

"This request, before any measure that the government can implement under Article 155 of our Constitution, aims to offer our citizens the clarity and security that such an issue requires", Rajoy said. "Yesterday I tried to send a message of calmness and to remind people that we are facing a political problem that we need to solve with politics and not with police", he said.Hundreds of people were injured in Catalonia on October 1 as Spanish national police sought to prevent the referendum going ahead.

"We have listened to the world, especially Europe, and I think it would be very good if the Spanish Government also was generous and responsible and listened that this is the moment and the opportunity to open a dialogue without conditions". Catalonian President Carles Fulgedemont subsequently hinted he would unveil an American-style declaration of independence, but on Tuesday backed down and instead endorsed negotiations.

Addressing the Catalan Parliament in Barcelona, Puigdemont said the autonomous region had won the right to be independent as a result of the vote.

"I propose suspending the effects of the declaration of independence to undertake talks in the coming weeks without which it is not possible to reach an agreed solution".

But a 2010 move by Spain's Constitutional Court to water down a statute that gave Catalonia additional powers, combined with a deep economic meltdown in Spain, sparked a surge in support for independence.

The government stuck to its stance that it would not accept mediation or any talks until Catalan leaders drop their independence bid.

At stake is the future of a region of 7.5 million people, one of Spain's economic powerhouses, whose drive to break away has raised concern for stability in the European Union.

The Spain's Deputy Premier said: "Dialogue between democrats takes place within the law, respects the rules of the game and doesn't make them up as it goes along".

About 90 per cent of participants voted in favour of splitting from Spain in the referendum.

The poll was marred by violence after Spanish police acting on court orders attempted to stop the vote by raiding polling stations, seizing ballot boxes, beating voters and firing rubber bullets at crowds.

European Council President Donald Tusk had urged Puigdemont not to proclaim independence.

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