Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Spain threatens to suspend Catalonia's autonomy in crisis

Spain threatens to suspend Catalonia's autonomy in crisis

In the event the Catalan president declared independence, he would have until next Thursday to rescind it, otherwise Madrid would suspend Catalonia's regional autonomy, Rajoy added.

M - Spain is preparing to celebrate its National Day amid a continuing political crisis sparked by Catalonia's disputed independence referendum. Failing this, Article 155 would be triggered.

The European Union has already said Catalonia would be expelled from the bloc and its shared currency, the euro, if it declares independence.

Carne Ross, who as founder of the diplomatic consultancy Independent Diplomat has worked with Kosovo, South Sudan, Western Sahara and Catalonia on their respective bids for sovereignty, said there would be no solution to the crisis without a legal plebiscite agreed to by Madrid.

Neither Mr. Puigdemont nor anybody else can impose, without returning to legality and democracy, a mediation, since dialogue between democrats is done within the law, as affirmed by Saenz de Santamaria.

In a combative speech before the Spanish parliament later Wednesday, Rajoy told national lawmakers that the October 1 referendum in Catalonia was a "farce".

"We have given up absolutely nothing.We have taken a time out.which doesn't mean a step backwards, or a renunciation or anything like that", Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull told Catalunya Radio.

Rajoy, who has refused to rule out invoking article 155 of the Spanish constitution to take control of Catalonia, was quick to seize on the ambiguity of Puigdemont's position, accusing him of deliberately sowing confusion.

But the Spanish government, buoyed by yesterday's protests in Barcelona, the Catalan capital, have made it clear it would respond immediately to any such vote.

Spain's 10-year government bond yield - which moves inversely to the price - dropped 5 basis points to 1.65 percent in early trade, according to Tradeweb data.

One EU official said Puigdemont "seems to have listened to advice not to do something irreversible".

With tempers running high in the region, closing the Catalan parliament and presumably arresting secessionist leaders risks catapulting the crisis along more violent lines, fear some analysts. They appear to be putting their hopes on global mediation and have pressed European leaders to intervene, something Paris, Berlin and Brussels have said they will not do.

Some of Catalonia's largest companies have moved their head offices out of the region and others were set to follow if Puigdemont had declared independence.

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