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Catalonia: Madrid asks the Catalan president to "say if he declared independence"

Catalonia: Madrid asks the Catalan president to

He thus said "assumes mandate for people of Catalonia to become an independent state in form of a republic" while proposing to "suspend effects of Declaration of Independence so that over next few weeks we undertake a Dialogue [with Madrid]".

SPAIN'S prime minister has issued a veiled threat to Catalans, saying that the central government has given their leader a deadline of Monday to clarify whether he declared independence from Spain.

The Spanish prime minister also rejected calls for external mediation between the two governments, insisting the Catalan question remained a domestic matter.

According to news media, among the measures taken by Rajoy to tackle down secessionist challenge is an eventual intervention of Catalonia's autonomy through the application of Article-155 of the Constitution.

"It is very important that Mr Puigdemont clarify for the rest of Spaniards if he declared independence yesterday or not", he added.

Speaking in the national parliament in Madrid on Wednesday, Rajoy said the referendum Catalonia's regional parliament and Puigdemont's government held in violation of a court order was illegal and part of a strategy "to impose independence that few want and is good for nobody".

Carne Ross, who as founder of the diplomatic consultancy Independent Diplomat has worked with Kosovo, South Sudan, Western Sahara and Catalonia on their respective bids for sovereignty, said there would be no solution to the crisis without a legal plebiscite agreed to by Madrid.

Puigdemont said the referendum had given him a mandate for independence but immediately asked regional lawmakers to suspend the declaration to allow for negotiations with the central government.

"There is an urgent need to put an end to the situation that Catalonia is going through - to return it to safety, tranquillity and calm and to do that as quickly as possible".

Addressing parliament later, Mr Rajoy said Spanish democracy was "experiencing one of the most serious moments in its history".

Catalonia is one of Spain's wealthiest regions but a stream of companies has announced plans to move head offices out of the province in response to the crisis.

In Catalonia, the decades-long desire for more self-governance has evolved into a growing push to break the region's century-old ties with Spain.

Catalonia's president has no choice but to suspend secession since it is unlikely anyone will recognise the Spanish region on the basis of a disputed referendum, says a former British diplomat who has advised the Catalans and other secessionist movements.

On the streets of Barcelona, residents followed developments closely.

"The best would be if they could sit down and make some clarity and decide something, maybe a bit more autonomy. I don't think that in the short term something will happen".



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