All eyes on Spain as Cataluña independence announcement expected

CATALAN leader Carles Puigdemont is expected to address the regional parliament in Barcelona at 6pm this afternoon to present the results of the recent illegal independence vote, that was marred by scenes of violence with hundreds injured.

The ballot saw more than 2.3 million people vote – a turnout of 42 percent – with 90% in favour of splitting from Madrid. 

Speculation is mounting that Puigdemont could declare independence but he  has been threatened with arrest if he does.

The parliament session was due to take place yesterday (Monday) but Spain’s Constitutional Court ordered the suspension of the session.

Spain’s constitution states that the country is indivisible and gives the national government the exclusive power to hold referendums.

And Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has warned the government could use constitutional powers to suspend Cataluña’s autonomy if it declares independence.

At the weekend thousands of anti-independence protesters marched through Barcelona showing strong support for remaining a part of Spain. 

And a number of high-profile businesses and banks have already announced the relocation of  their headquarters out of Cataluña, fearing that independence would leave the region isolated, outside of both Spain and the European Union.

Prime Minister Rajoy has ruled out mediation talks with Cataluña and said more police would be deployed to the region until the situation returns to normal.

The three cruise ships docked in Barcelona and Tarragona to house  National Police and Guardia Civil security forces were due to depart on October 5 but have had their stay extended until at least October 11 as tensions in the region remain very high.

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