Catalan leader leaves independence decision to regional parliament

Catalan leader leaves independence decision to regional parliament
# 26 October 2017 18:59 (UTC +04:00)

The leader of Catalonia on Thursday said he would not be calling elections and added that the responsibility for declaring independence from Spain would now fall on the regional parliament, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.

Carles Puigdemont said the Spanish government, which is currently preparing measures to reel back Catalonia's autonomy as part of Article 155 of Spain's constitution, had not offered enough guarantees for him to convene regional elections.

"There are not enough guarantees to justify holding elections," he said, adding: "I do not accept the measures enclosed in Article 155 because they are unjust."

The Catalan parliament is due to meet later on Thursday to debate the independence bid.

But deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said the Spanish government had a legal, democratic and political obligation to take over the functions of the regional government to protect the interests of all Spaniards in the face of Catalan authorities' aimless separatism.

She said all governments had the obligation of respecting the law and ensuring that it is abided by.

Tensions were high in Catalonia ahead of the possibility that Article 155 could be applied imminently, meaning that Catalan ministries would be brought under Madrid's direct rule in what would be an unprecedented move since Spanish politics transitioned into a democracy following the death of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.

The national government's decision to invoke constitutional action came in response to Puigdemont's declaration of independence, which he made _ although immediately suspended _ in the wake of a controversial referendum deemed illegal by the Constitutional Court.

The Spanish government's proposal to invoke Article 155 includes conditions that would remove Puigdemont and his cabinet from their posts, dissolve the Catalan parliament and call for fresh elections.

It would also take control of the region's ministries, police force and local state media.

The Senate is set to vote on the measures on Friday.

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