Ul­ti­ma­tum to Cat­alo­nia: Back down or be pun­ished

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - WEATHER -

MADRID » Span­ish au­thor­i­ties gave Cat­alo­nia’s sep­a­ratist leader five days to ex­plain whether his am­bigu­ous state­ment on se­ces­sion was a for­mal dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence and warned Wednesday that his an­swer dic­tated whether they would apply never-used con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers to cur­tail the re­gion’s au­ton­omy.

Threat­en­ing to in­voke part of the Span­ish Con­sti­tu­tion to as­sert con­trol over the coun­try’s rogue re­gion, Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy said Cata­lan Pres­i­dent Car­les Puigde­mont’s re­sponse to the gov­ern­ment’s ul­ti­ma­tum would be cru­cial in de­cid­ing “events over the com­ing days.”

Puigde­mont said Tues­day that he was us­ing the vic­tory in a banned Oct. 1 ref­er­en­dum to pro­ceed with a dec­la­ra­tion of Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence, but pro­posed freez­ing its im­ple­men­ta­tion for a few weeks to al­low for di­a­logue and me­di­a­tion. His po­si­tion seemed de­signed to ap­pease the most fer­vent sep­a­ratists, but also to build over­all sup­port.

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