DECISION DAY: Cataluña ‘to declare independence’ if Spain cancels region’s autonomy

SPAIN’s national government has issued a final warning to leaders in Cataluña – abandon  your independence claim or we will impose direct rule from Madrid.

The central government set a deadline of today (Thursday) to resolve the political conflict caused by Catalonia’s independence referendum in which a low-turnout  of residents voted overwhelmingly for secession in a referendum. Hundreds of people were injured when the security forces tried to halt the illegal vote.

Madrid could invoke article 155 of the constitution  which allows the central government to take control of an autonomous region if it ‘does not fulfil the obligations imposed upon it by the constitution or other laws, or acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain’.

According to a news agency report, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has said the region could formally declare its independence from Spain today, if  the Spanish government in Madrid rescinds its autonomy.

Following the October 1 vote Puigdemont, in a speech to the regional parliament, initially appeared to  declare independence and then immediately rescind it – calling instead for dialogue with Madrid.

And this week, in a four-page letter to Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy,  Puigdemont repeated his calls for negotiations with the Madrid to resolve the country’s political crisis.

The Spanish prime minister  has previously said there will be no negotiations until the independence  plans are renounced.

He has also said that the Guardia Civil and National Police officers deployed to the region will remain there “until things return to normal”.

Earlier Madrid confirmed its hard line when a Spanish court sent two senior pro-independence activists  to prison, without bail, who are being detained on sedition charges. Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez  are accused of stirring up major demonstrations in the run-up to the controversial independence referendum.

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