Spain has given a deadline to the Catalan government to clarify what they plan to do regarding the fate of Catalan independence; Puigdemont will have until the 16th of October to state his intentions before the central Spanish government will force action, possibly to strip the region of what autonomy it has.
After a statement from Puigdemont saying that he had accepted the mandate for “Catalonia to become an independent state”. Rajoy has said he was giving Puigdemont until Monday to decide if he really wanted to take the path of independence.
“It is very important that Puigdemont clarify for the rest of Spain if he declared independence yesterday or not,” he said. He added that if Puigdemont did go ahead with secession, the central government would give him until October 19th to reconsider, before suspending Catalonia’s regional autonomy.
The deadline sets the clock ticking on Spain’s most serious political emergency since its return to democracy four decades ago.
Rajoy has said he will not negotiate on anything until the separatists abandon their independence drive, and rejected calls for mediation in the crisis. This comes after intense scenes of violence in the streets of Barcelona during the referendum last Sunday, with over 900 Catalan voters injured by Spanish police trying to stop the vote from going ahead. The police violence against voters during the referendum vote sparked international concern and turned many more Catalans against the central government.
Crowds of thousands gathered outside the parliament building in Barcelona on Tuesday ahead of Puigdemont’s speech, waving Catalan flags and banners and screaming “democracy” in the hope of witnessing history in the making. But reaction among separatists in Catalonia was mixed. With the ultimate decision of whether Catalonia will break away from Spain still unclear, residents can only wait to see what will become of their home region over the next few days, in what must surely be a historic time for the state no matter what the outcome.