Catalan Leader Continues to Fight for Independence Despite Threats of Arrest

06 October, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Catalonia is not Europe

Puigdemont told the BBC on Tuesday that Catalonia would not abandon its quest for independence and warned the Spanish government that any move to stop the independence process by using article 155 of the constitution to take control of the region could be the "ultimate mistake".

In a prime-time television speech, seemingly created to mirror King Felipe's address to the Spanish nation by scheduling it exactly 24 hours afterwards, Mr Puigdemont argued the monarch had abandoned his traditionally neutral stance in politics.

The head of the main Catalan business lobby, Joaquim Gay de Montella, said unilateral independence would be "a mistake for the Catalan and Spanish economy and business in general". "It's time to talk, to find a way out of the impasse working within the constitutional order of Spain".

In a statement published on Wednesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wrote in Spanish: "The government is not going to negotiate any illegality, it will not accept any blackmail". The premier has been seeking cross-party political support for his hard-line approach after police stormed polling stations and triggered mass demonstrations.

The central government sticks to its stance of not talking to those wanting to break up the country. "This is not acceptable", Puigdemont said.

Sunday's crackdown by Spanish police, Rajoy's hardline stance and an uncharacteristically strong intervention this week by Spain's King Felipe VI seems to have deepened Catalonia's resolve to continue with the project. I don't see what you have to lose by talking.

More than 2.2 million Catalonians - 42% of the region's electorate - voted overwhelmingly to separate from Spain on Sunday. The Catalans have suggested the European Union to intervene. "I do not think there will be a business exodus", he told the La Sexta broadcaster. "I am very anxious that this situation could escalate". A spokesman for the bank said no decision had been taken on a move.

Ratings agency S&P late on Wednesday put Catalonia's ratings on "credit watch negative" on an escalation of the political conflict. But it helped Spanish markets hit in recent days by the uncertainty. The premium over similar maturity German bonds reached the widest in more than five months.

Biotechnology company Oryzon performed against the tide, its shares gaining almost 13 percent after it announced late on Tuesday that it was moving its headquarters from Catalonia to Madrid.

Shares of Caixabank decreased 5 percent and Banco Sabadell's 5.7 percent, but losses were spread across the Spanish banking industry. "The good news is that tension hasn't increased further".

But the opposition socialist bloc in the regional parliament had called for Monday's session to be blocked. That could start a 48-hour countdown to a formal declaration of independence.

Spain's constitutional court has suspended next Monday's session of the Catalan parliament, in a bid to pre-empt a possible push for independence.



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