Spain: Catalan leader didn't give adequate reply

Andrew Cummings
October 16, 2017

Mr Puigdemont made a symbolic declaration of independence last Tuesday, but suspended it seconds later and called for negotiations with Madrid on the region's future.

In a letter sent ahead of Monday's deadline, Puigdemont didn't clarify whether he had declared independence from Spain.

Catalonia's separatist leader on Monday refused to say whether he had declared independence from Spain, calling for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to settle the country's worst political crisis in a generation.

But Carles Puigdemont's letter, released about two hours before the deadline was set to expire, didn't clarify whether he indeed had proclaimed that Catalonia had broken away from Spain.

Puigdemont said in letter that he should meet with Rajoy as soon as possible to open dialogue in next two months.

"The question was clear but the answer is not", Catala told journalists.

"Our offer for dialogue is sincere and honest".

Speaking on Monday morning, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister said the government response had wide backing in the Spanish parliament, and demanded Mr Puigdemont say by Thursday whether he would be declaring independence.

Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero was due to appear before Spain's High Court on Monday to be questioned over whether his force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, deliberately failed to enforce the court ban on the independence referendum.

The sedition case is investigating the roles of the four in September 20-21 demonstrations in Barcelona as Spanish police arrested several Catalan officials and raided offices in a crackdown on referendum preparations.

A declaration of independence would trigger Article 155 of the 1978 constitution - allowing Madrid to impose direct rule, sack the local administration and appoint a new governing team who will take control of the police and the wealthy region's finances.

"Credibility and dignity suggest making the declaration of independence tomorrow", said Jordi Sanchez, the head of the civil group National Catalonia Assembly. Puigdemont΄s government defied Spanish authorities by staging the vote. "What they are trying to do is channel the sentiment that has been prevailing for years in Catalonia for us to have self-determination".

Court officials said it wasn't immediately known if the fourth suspect, Catalan police Lt Teresa Laplana, would testify by video conference from Barcelona.

Other reports by iNewsToday