Cata­lans go for break

The Sunday Times - - WORLD -

CATA­LAN se­ces­sion­ists are work­ing to­wards a uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence from Spain that could be adopted next week in de­fi­ance of a court or­der and in­creased eco­nomic pres­sure from Madrid.

Af­ter Spain’s Con­sti­tu­tional Court sus­pended a ses­sion of the Cata­lan Par­lia­ment set for to­mor­row, which had been ex­pected to en­dorse an in­de­pen­dence dec­la­ra­tion, Par­lia­ment said the re­gion’s pro-in­de­pen­dence leader Car­les Puigde­mont would ad­dress the assem­bly on Tues­day.

Madrid apol­o­gised for the first time on Fri­day for po­lice vi­o­lence as they tried to hin­der last Sun­day’s ref­er­en­dum it had de­clared il­le­gal. The crack­down raised the tem­per­a­ture of a con­fronta­tion that is Spain’s worst po­lit­i­cal cri­sis for decades.

Span­ish Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy has of­fered all-party talks if the Cata­lan Gov­ern­ment gives up any in­de­pen­dence am­bi­tions.

Fi­nal ref­er­en­dum re­sults showed 90.18 per cent sup­port for break­ing away. But the turnout was only about 43 per cent as Cata­lans who favour re­main­ing part of Spain mainly boy­cotted the bal­lot.

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