Clarify intentions by next week, Spain tells Catalan President


The Spanish government will define today its response to the President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont´s decision to discontinue the proclamation of independence of that region to promote a negotiation on the serious territorial conflict.

He did not refer to the violence with which police cracked down on voting day but said "nobody can be proud of the image" Spain projected, adding the only ones to blame were the Catalan leaders.

Mr Rajoy had earlier stressed that Mr Puigdemont's response would be crucial in deciding "events over the coming days" and he said he "just needs to say he didn't declare independence". Failing this, Article 155 would be triggered. If he says he did not declare it, then far-left party CUP would probably withdraw its support for his minority government.

The holiday comes as Spain navigates one of its worst political crises since the country's return to democracy four decades ago.

This requirement is a necessary step before triggering Article 155 of the constitution, which would allow Madrid to suspend the region's political autonomy.

Under Catalonia's referendum law, deemed unconstitutional by Madrid, a vote for independence would start a six-month process that would envisage divorce talks with Spain before regional elections and a final act of separation.

Catalan separatists remain furious at the actions of Spanish national police and Guardia Civil when they sought to disrupt the independence referendum, which saw officers raiding polling stations, beating voters and firing rubber bullets at crowds.

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"There is no mediation possible between democratic law and disobedience, illegality", he told parliament.

According to news media, among the measures taken by Rajoy to tackle down secessionist challenge is an eventual intervention of Catalonia's autonomy through the application of Article-155 of the Constitution.

Puigdemont's speech also disappointed supporters of independence, thousands of whom watched proceedings on giant screens outside parliament before sadly leaving for home.

After Puigdemont's speech, Spain's benchmark IBEX share index rose as much as 1.6 percent, outperforming the pan-European STOXX 600 index. They appear to be putting their hopes on worldwide mediation and have pressed European leaders to intervene, something Paris, Berlin and Brussels have said they will not do.

The Catalan crisis has deeply divided the region itself as well as the Spanish nation.

Some of Catalonia's largest companies have moved their head offices out of the region and others were set to follow if Puigdemont had declared independence.