Catalan Leader Urged to Definitively Declare Independence

Catalan Leader Urged to Definitively Declare IndependenceCatalan Leader Urged to Definitively Declare Independence

Catalonia’s leader faced mounting pressure Friday from all sides, with hardliners in the separatist movement demanding he declare independence from Spain once and for all. Spain’s government and the European Union, on the other hand, want him to abandon the secession plans altogether.

Spain’s deputy prime minister blamed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont for creating such economic uncertainty that a recession could be in the cards, and for sinking tourism figures. She also said that Spain’s government is considering lowering the growth forecast for the Spanish economy in 2018 if the standoff in Catalonia continues, AFP reported.

The central government has given Puigdemont a Monday deadline to make clear whether he has already declared independence for the region and to fall in line with Spain’s laws by Oct. 19 if he wants to avoid losing some or all of the region’s autonomous powers.

For Spain, Puigdemont simply has to say one of two words in his response.

“It’s just a yes or a no,” Deputy Prime Minister Saenz de Santamaria told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.

She added that “it’s in Puigdemont’s hands” to avoid the extraordinary measures that would allow central authorities a partial or full suspension of the prosperous region’s autonomy.

In addition to pressure from Spain, two key allies of Puigdemont’s government called on him to ignore the Spanish government’s threats and press ahead with proclaiming a new republic.

The far-left separatist Catalan party CUP said in a letter dated Friday that Puigdemont should ignore the Spanish government’s warning, lift the suspension and definitively proclaim independence.

The Assemblea Nacional Catalana, or ANC, a civil society group that organized massive protests in support of secession, also issued a brief statement with a similar message.

“It doesn’t make sense to keep the suspension of the independence declaration” given Madrid’s rejection of any dialogue, ANC said in the statement.

Some politicians of the two parties in the ruling coalition have also expressed similar views on social media, with only a few of them calling for calm. The Catalan government hasn’t given any signal of what it intends to do, but Catalan media reported that meetings were being held Friday.


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