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Catalonia on the brink

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By Euronews
Catalonia on the brink

Catalonia’s regional parliament where leader Carles Puigdemont is due to address local MPs for the first time since a referendum provoked a political stand-off with the Spanish government.

Madrid fears he will call on the assembly for a unilateral declaration of independence. It was after all what he originally promised if his secessionist campaign won.

In an interview last week he told reporters that he will carry out what was planned in the referendum legislation.

But in Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, Mayor Ada Colau has advised against proclaiming independence on the basis of disputed referendum results.

“In today’s context the results from October 1 (referendum) cannot serve as a reason to declare independence. But constitute an opportunity to open a dialogue with international mediation.”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who says the referendum was illegal has threatened to impose direct rule on Catalonia. Moderates have warned this could inflame anger already evident following a police crackdown during the referendum vote,

Spokesperson for Rajoy’s ruling People’s Party, Pablo Casado hasn’t helped matters by invoking the memory of a secessionist Catalan leader from the 1930s.

“We hope thy don’t declare anything…I think history shouldn’t be repeated because if it is so, maybe, the one declaring it, will end up in prison like the one who declared it 83 years ago.”

With both sides appearing to be resolute Catalonia’s High Court has asked for more security, specifically drafting in the national police who were called on to stop the referendum when Catalan officers failed to act.