Catalan parliament embraces Madrid defiance
BARCELONA: Catalonias parliament will defy a Spanish court ban and go ahead on Monday with a debate that could lead to a declaration of independence, a regional government official said as Spain’s worst political crisis in decades looked set to deepen.
“Parliament will discuss, parliament will meet. It will be a debate, and this is important,” the Catalan government’s head of foreign affairs, Raul Romeva, said.
It was the pro- independence regional government’s first clear response to a Con- stitutional Court decision on Thursday to suspend Monday’s planned parliamentary session, and it raised the prospect of a tough response from central government.
Spanish Prime Mariano Rajoy has offered all-party political talks to find a solution, opening the door to a deal giving Catalonia more autonomy. But he has ruled out independence and rejected a Catalan proposal for international mediation.
Spanish ruling-party lawmakers say Rajoy is considering invoking the constitution to dissolve the regional parliament and force fresh Catalan elections if the region’s government goes ahead with an independence declaration.
Romeva said that the crisis could only be resolved with politics, not via judicial means.
His remarks hit Spanish stocks and bonds, including shares in the region’s two largest banks, Caixabank and Sabadell.
Sabadell decided on Thursday to move its legal base to Alicante. Caixabank, Spain’s third-largest lender, will consider whether to also transfer its legal base away from Catalonia, a source said.
The court’s suspension order further aggravated one of the biggest crises to hit Spain since the establishment of democracy on the 1975 death of General Francisco Franco.
Secessionist Catalan politicians have pledged to unilaterally declare independence at Monday’s session after staging an independence referendum on Sunday. Madrid had banned the vote and sought to thwart it by sending in riot police who use batons and rubber bullets on voters. – Reuters