Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has demanded the Catalan authorities clarify whether or not the region declared independence following the local leader’s speech on the October 1 referendum results.
“The cabinet has agreed to require formally to the Catalan government to confirm whether it has declared or not independence, Rajoy said in a televised address on Wednesday as cited by Reuters.
Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont’s answer “would determine future events in the next few days,” the PM stated.
Formal confirmation from Barcelona is required to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, Rajoy said. The article allows Madrid to strip Catalonia of its broad autonomy and take control of some or all of its powers.
This requirement “comes before any other measure that could be taken under Article 155 of the constitution,” the PM said in his Wednesday address to the Spanish parliament.
Madrid wants “to avoid confusion generated by Generalitat [Catalonian government]” among the nation and Catalans in particular, Rajoy noted.
Rajoy’s speech comes on the heels of Puigdemont’s address to the regional parliament.
On Tuesday, Puigdemont read out ‘Declaration of the representatives of Catalonia’ at a plenary session of Catalan MPs. The document voices the region’s call to the states and international organizations “to recognize the Catalan Republic as an independent and sovereign state.”
It was the leader’s first speech since the controversial October 1 referendum on the region’s secession from Spain, considered illegal by the national government.