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Spain Gives Catalonia A Deadline: Retract Independence Claim Or Else

12 October 2017

Because if he did, Rajoy says he'll invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which suspends the autonomy of Catalonia.

The leader of the opposition Socialist party, Pedro Sanchez, has called on Mr Puigdemont to "stop everything" as he threatens to formally declare independence.

Nevertheless, on Tuesday, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont gave a carefully worded speech in which he said that he had the "mandate" to declare independence but that he wanted to delay any repercussions to allow time for talks with Madrid. Spain's recent financial crisis and the harsh austerity measures that followed generated more support for secession.

Rajoy, whose government has been under fire for the police violence, blamed the Catalan separatists for inciting recent street protests and said that "nobody can be proud of the image" Spain has projected to the rest of the world with the referendum.

"Morocco is confident in the ability of the Spanish government to wisely manage this situation with a view to preserving the constitutional order and to act in the supreme interest of the Spanish Nation and the European Continent", said the statement.

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Puigdemont said the referendum had given him a mandate for independence but immediately asked regional lawmakers to suspend the declaration to allow for negotiations with the central government.

"It falls to the Catalan leader to restore constitutional normality", he told deputies, rejecting any suggestion of outside mediation in the dispute.

"There is no mediation possible between democratic law and disobedience, illegality", he told parliament. "This request, which comes before any of the measures that the government could adopt under article 155 of our constitution, is meant to offer our citizens the clarity and security that such an important issue requires". Regional authorities say 90 percent were in favor of secession and declared the results valid. That's enough of a declaration of independence for Carla Ricart, who voted yes in the disputed referendum.

Rajoy's government previously had refused to grant Catalonia permission to hold a referendum on the grounds that it would only poll a portion of Spain's 46 million residents and was therefore unconstitutional.

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The deadline sets the clock ticking on Spain's most serious political emergency since its return to democracy four decades ago.

The article provides a warning period for any region attempting to leave Spain.

Losing Catalonia, which has its own language and culture, would deprive Spain of a fifth of its economic output and more than a quarter of exports.

Lauren Frayer, reporting for NPR from Barcelona, spoke to graduate student Eugenio Juliá, who "is paying close attention because he's anxious the terms of his grad school scholarship might change if Catalonia leaves Spain and the European Union", Frayer says. Rajoy said the ball was now firmly back in Puigdemont's court.

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Spain Gives Catalonia A Deadline: Retract Independence Claim Or Else