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Catalonia Rejects Snap Poll, Spain Mulls Direct Rule

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Local Editor

Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont refused to call snap elections to break a deadlock between Madrid and the semi-autonomous region.

Puigdemont

Speaking at the regional government's headquarters in Barcelona on Friday, Puigdemont said the central government had not provided sufficient guarantees that holding elections would prevent the imposition of direct rule.

"I was ready to call an election if guarantees were given. There is no guarantee that justifies calling an election today," he said.

Puigdemont said it was now up to the Catalan parliament to go ahead with a "mandate" to declare independence from Spain following a referendum that took place on October 1.

Madrid considered that referendum illegal and threatened to take away Catalonia's semi-autonomous status if the region did not unambiguously drop its bid for secession.

The Spanish Senate is poised to vote on Friday to take away Catalonia's autonomy. It is set to approve the invocation of the constitution's Article 155, which would allow the takeover of Catalonia's institutions and police and the removal of the Catalan president.

Catalonia was defiant. It said it would resist the imposition of direct rule by Madrid.

But divisions emerged between Catalan officials. On Thursday, the regional government's business head resigned in opposition to a potential unilateral declaration of independence.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy earlier announced Madrid's decision to hold fresh elections in Catalonia. Rajoy has been seeking the Senate's permission to dissolve the Catalan parliament and "call elections within a maximum of six months."

Spain has been in turmoil since the disputed referendum on October 1. Puigdemont claimed that 90 percent of the voters in the referendum had backed secession, but the turnout had been put at only 43 percent.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

 

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