Published: Mon, October 09, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Catalonia to Face Domestic, International Obstacles if Independence Declared

Catalonia to Face Domestic, International Obstacles if Independence Declared

The Constitutional court banned Sunday's Catalonian referendum claiming independence from Spain, after Catalonia spent years claiming to be distinct from the rest of the country.

However, Mr Rajoy ruled out using mediators to resolve the crisis and also said the issue would not force a snap national election.

Almost one week after Spanish police tried to violently shut down Catalonia's vote to become independent from the country, thousands of people rallied in Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday in a more peaceful show of support and opposition.

This weekend, Rajoy told Spanish newspaper El Pais that any declaration of independence by Catalonia would be rejected. Saturday's flags were all white, emblazoned with the words "parlem" and "hablemos", Catalan and Spanish respectively for "Let's talk".

The worldwide credit rating agency Standard & Poors (S&P) said it may downgrade the sovereign debt rating of Catalonia in the next three months as tensions with Madrid escalate over the region's push for independence.

According to the prime minister, "European values are at stake right now".

The official results of the vote show that 90.18 percent, or more than 2.28 million voters, favored secession of Catalonia from Spain, with turnout exceeding 43 percent. Hundreds of people were hurt as police, trying to enforce a Spanish court ban on the vote, attempted to seize ballot boxes and disperse voters.

"I live in Catalonia, I speak Catalan, and I am Spanish", she said.

Asked whether he was prepared to invoke Article 155 of Spain's constitution, which allows the national parliament to intervene in the running of an autonomous region, Mr Rajoy said: "I don't rule out absolutely anything that is within the law".

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It is unclear how widespread Vila's moderate position is inside the Catalan government, which is being pressured by separatist grassroots groups and the far-left party CUP to declare independence soon.

While Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has said he is open to mediation, Rajoy has demanded he give up the independence campaign before discussions can be held.

The declaration of independence must be approved by the assembly "two days after" the ratification of the referendum results, a formal step which has not yet been taken even though final results have been published.

The crisis has raised fears of unrest in the northeastern region, a tourist-friendly area of 7.5 million people that accounts for a fifth of Spain's economy.

That is also the reason that this particular protest is so much smaller that those which have been held over the last few weeks, such as the massive "Si" (Yes) rally that was staged before Catalonia held its controversial independence referendum on October 1.

Catalonia's referendum law establishes an "exceptional legal regime" that "prevails hierarchically overall norms which it may conflict with", meaning it overrides other laws.

"The ideal situation would be that I don't have to find drastic solutions, but for that to happen there will have to be some rectifications (by Catalan leaders)", Rajoy said.

Earlier, thousands of people rallied across the country for Spanish unity.

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