Spain Torn Apart as President Likens Independence-Chasing Catalonia to a ‘Dictatorship’

Rebecca Flood, Express, May 25, 2017

Carles Puigdemont

Catalonian regional president Carles Puigdemont (Credit Image: © Fernando Alvarado/EFE via ZUMA Press)

Catalonia, an autonomous region in the northeast of Spain, is demanding a vote on independence which has referred to as “blackmail” by members of the Spanish government.

The Generalitat of Catalonia, its government, has escalated the debate over secession from the Mediterranean nation.

Catalonia is steaming ahead with proposals for its independence – whether Spain agrees or not.

The Generalitat is seeking to hold a referendum on the issue, but has stated if it is not accepted by the central government then Catalonia will proceed with independence regardless.

In response President Mariano Rajoy said: “Do you know any country, any democracy, in which someone says one day that they will approve a Constitution without debate, without the opposition being able to say anything, and destroying the unity of Spain?

“That only happens in the worst dictatorships. But Spain at the moment is still a democracy, there’s rule of law and we are going to preserve it.”

And other government members echoed their leader on what he called “arbitrary action”, claiming the independence plot as a “real coup d’état”, effectively “blackmailing” the country.

Government ministers, including the government spokesman, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, and Defence Minister María Dolores de Cospedal, referred to the proposition as an “attempted coup d’état”.

Mr Rajoy named-checked Catalan’s autonomous president, Carles Puigdemont, in front of the senate.

He demanded Mr Puigdemont end his threats and face parliament personally.

Mr Rajoy called on his counterpart to defend his proposal and pursue it through the proper democratic channels.

Seemingly willing to entertain the idea, he challenged Mr Puigdemont to be “brave” and face him and other MPs in parliament for a debate on the issue.

He stated Spain would not allow Mr Puigdemont to declare a Catalan republic in “24 hours”.

The Spanish government has prepared response for any eventuality, including a forced referendum or a unilateral declaration of independence, or the approval of the Law of Rupture – a Catalonian version of Article 50.

Currently it is only a draft, but fears are it could be implemented.

Mr Rajoy said: “We have studied every possibility, we know what to do and how to stop it legally, with proportionality and intelligence.”

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