Puigdemont doesn’t give answer on Catalan independence, asks to talk

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Puigdemont doesn’t give answer on Catalan independence, asks to talk

The Spanish government in Madrid is demanding that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont formally declare whether his government will follow through and declare independence for his region. The leader has danced around the issue, not taking a public stance in either direction.

CGTN’s Stephanie Freid reports.

On a deadline for declaring – or not declaring – Catalan independence from Spain, the region’s president Carles Puigdemont didn’t declare anything. Instead, he asked for dialogue.

“Mr. Puigdemont still has the opportunity to start resolving the situation, he must must answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the declaration,” Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría responded. “He has avoided giving such a simple answer and he has avoided applying the constitution.”

If no declaration is given this week, the Spanish government said it may withdraw Catalonia’s autonomy, which could mean sacking the regional government and calling new elections.

The pro-independence camp is pressuring Puidgemont to declare independence, but instead he repeatedly asks for negotiations. That’s because, according to the experts, he can’t legally do so.

“It’s impossible to ask for independence for Catalonia, and this radical, nationalistic party is asking for independence,” Frances Granell, retired Honorary Director General of the EU, said. “That is impossible in terms of the Spanish constitution and in terms of the European laws.”

More than 2 million people voted for independence in an Oct. 1 referendum, escalating tensions between Barcelona and Madrid. The central government declared the referendum illegal.  

If government in Madrid invokes the constitution’s Article 155, which withdraws autonomy from the region, the move would be an historic first with an unknown outcome. It is giving Puidgemont a deadline on Thursday morning to return a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on independence.