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Allies pressure Catalan leader to declare independence

Europe
13.10.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Madrid (dpa) - Coalition partners in Catalonia‘s regional government are mounting pressure on premier Carles Puigdemont to formally declare independence for Spain‘s wealthy, north-eastern region.

The far-left Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party, which holds 10 of the 135 seats in Catalonia‘s parliament and works closely with Puigdemont, published a letter addressed to the premier online on Friday.

"The CUP-CC believes we lost an opportunity on October 10," the letter read, referring to the day that Puigdemont suspended the independence process during a highly-anticipated speech to Catalan parliament.

Puigdemont made the address after the contested October 1 referendum in Catalonia - declared illegal by the Spanish government - that returned 90 per cent support for independence.

"Most of all we do not understand that the response to Rajoy‘s request could be something other than the popular mandate... expressed in (ballot boxes)," CUP lawmakers wrote.

Sergi Sabria, spokesman for the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) - another pro-independence coalition partner - called on Puigdemont in a radio interview to "make it clear that independence has been signed and declared."

The calls to proclaim secession come in response to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy‘s demand on Wednesday that Puigdemont clarify whether it has formally declared independence or not.

Rajoy has said that, if Puigdemont says secession has been initiated, the Spanish government will take the unprecedented step of invoking Article 155 of the constitution to assume full control of the region.

Puigdemont now has until 10 am (0800 GMT) Monday to offer the clarification Rajoy demands.

 

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