Spanish government sets final deadline: Thursday 10am
CATALAN NEWS AGENCY – Mariano Rajoy ignores Puigdemont’s call for a meeting and mentions that he is ready to implement the Constitutional provision to suspend Catalonia’s self-rule
The march toward the suspension of Catalonia’s self-government continues. It will probably reach its finish line on Thursday, despite the Catalan president’s calls for dialogue. The Spanish executive reacted to Carles Puigdemont’s letter by sending another request activating a second and final deadline for him to “rectify” if he wants to stop dramatic measures against Catalonia from being taken. Thursday 10am is the final deadline set by Madrid.
Rajoy responded to Puigdemont with another letter saying that the latter “had not clarified whether any Catalan government institution has declared the independence of Catalonia.” Thus he said that this second request is for his counterpart to clarify that matter, and make an about-face if that were indeed the case. “Otherwise, you will be the only person responsible for the application of the Constitution,” said Rajoy, referring to Article 155 in the Spanish Constitution, which provides the circumstances under which Madrid can take control of the self-rule of any Spanish territory, such as Catalonia. “It is still in your hands to open a new period of normality and institutional loyalty that the whole world is demanding,” Rajoy added.
‘Return to legality’ before dialogue
Mariano Rajoy ignored Puigdemont’s calls for a meeting between both heads of government earlier this Monday. Indeed, he said that in order to establish any dialogue, “the return to legality” is essential. According to the Spanish president, the Catalan executive is operating outside the law and the final official request “is an opportunity to correct the serious deterioration of the atmosphere in Catalonia and for the Catalan government to return to legality, and from that point, that institutional normality between administrations be recovered.” In his letter, Rajoy also said that Puigdemont’s calls for dialogue “are not credible” and did not give any credibility to the October 1 referendum either. “It has never been valid,” he said.
Debate on the implications of article 155
At the same time, Rajoy’s vice president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, also made a statement on Monday morning in the same vein. She also ignored Puigdemont’s proposal for a meeting with his Spanish counterpart. Instead, she asked him to appear in the Spanish Congress to make any proposals. She did not disclose what exactly what is implied by enforcing Article 155 of the Constitution –some newspapers have published in the past few days that the Catalan president could even be removed from office. However, she said that the measure does not men suspending the territory’s self-rule, but rather “restoring legality”.