Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said he will only begin talks with the next Catalan President within the country. His statement is in response to an offer by Carles Puigdemont, leader of the Together for Catalonia party, to hold talks outside of Spain.
Following the regional election in Catalonia, in which no party gained an outright majority, Mr Rajoy said he was willing to hold talks with whoever took control of the Catalan regional government "in a realistic way and inside the law".
At a press conference Spanish President Mariano Rajoy said the national government was willing to talk to the new leader. However, he stipulated that talks would need to be inside of Spain. This is because the former President Carles Puidgemont is in self-imposed exile in Belgium. He faces possible arrest if he returns to Spain because of his role in the illegal independence referendum. The Catalan government had claimed that 90% of people that voted were in favour of independence, but this result was based on less than half the population voting.
Speaking at a press conference Rajoy said "The government of Spain would like to offer all its co-operation and all its willingness for a constructive, open and realistic dialogue. But always within the rule of the law."
Combined the separatist parties had a slim majority. However, the largest single winner of the Catalan election was the pro-union party Cuidadonos.
It's leader Inés Arrimadas has been compared by some to the French President Emmanuel Macron. He victory has been seen as a sign by some that the nationalists are falling out of favour.
Cuidadonos did not gain enough votes to form a majority. Despite this their popularity could be a threat to Rajoy's Popular Party when Spain next holds national elections.