Ap­peal to PM, king over ref­er­en­dum

Otago Daily Times - - The World -

MADRID: Cat­alo­nia’s gover­nor and the mayor of Barcelona have ap­pealed to Spain’s premier and king for di­a­logue to re­solve an in­creas­ingly bit­ter tus­sle over a planned vote on re­gional in­de­pen­dence, a let­ter showed yes­ter­day.

Au­thor­i­ties in the wealthy north­east­ern re­gion have pledged to call Cata­lans to the polls on Oc­to­ber 1, in de­fi­ance of Prime Min­is­ter Mariano Ra­joy, who has de­clared the ref­er­en­dum il­le­gal.

The ap­peal comes at the end of a week in which the state pros­e­cu­tor sum­moned may­ors for ques­tion­ing, and Cat­alo­nia re­belled against Madrid’s fis­cal rules.

Gover­nor Car­les Puigde­mont and Mayor Ada Co­lau said in the let­ter ad­dressed to Ra­joy and also sent to King Felipe that they wanted sup­port from the Span­ish state for the ref­er­en­dum.

‘‘We call for . . . open and un­con­di­tional di­a­logue. A po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue, based on the le­git­i­macy we all have, to make pos­ sible some­thing that in a democ­racy is never a prob­lem and even less a crime: lis­ten­ing to the voice of the peo­ple,’’ the of­fi­cials wrote in the let­ter.

Two new laws clear­ing the way for the vote have been sus­pended while judges con­sider whether hold­ing it would breach Spain’s con­sti­tu­tion, which states the coun­try is in­di­vis­i­ble.

Most of Cat­alo­nia’s 5.5 mil­lion vot­ers want to have a say on the re­gion’s bid for in­de­pen­dence from Spain. — Reuters

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