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Spain marks national day amid Catalonia crisis
12 October 2017, 10:39 | Erica Roy
Spain sets clock ticking on Catalan independence row
Rajoy today triggered constitution article 155, which allows Madrid to impose control over its devolved regions - an unprecedented move many fear could lead to unrest. He said this includes the use of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which would allow the central government to take control of the governance of a region "if the regional government does not comply with the obligations of the Constitution". "We have to put a halt to this slippage", he said, adding, his "ultimate objective is to recover stability".
Madrid responded angrily to Puigdemont's speech to Catalonia's parliament, saying his government could not act on the results of the referendum.
"Given that Rajoy can not accept a bilateral discussion without Puigdemont backtracking first on independence, the most likely scenario is that the prime minister activates the next steps of Article 155 (the so-called "nuclear option"), which will probably happen within the next 48 hours". It has never been invoked before and is seen as a "nuclear option", or extreme response.
He said his party and Rajoy's People's Party had agreed to renegotiate the laws that provide certain areas of autonomy to Spain's 17 regions, including Catalonia. Central authorities in Madrid had declared the referendum illegal and most opponents of independence boycotted it, reducing turnout to around 43 percent.
M - Spain is preparing to celebrate its National Day amid a continuing political crisis sparked by Catalonia's disputed independence referendum.
Some Catalan secessionists are angry with Puigdemont for not opting for an immediate break with Spain.
Catalan officials say nearly 90% of voters backed independence with a turnout of 43%.
Arran, the anti-capitalist direct action group that carried out arson attacks on tourist sites in August, accused Puigdemont of "inadmissible treason".
The Catalan leader, who commands only a slim majority in the Catalan parliament, had come under intense pressure from moderates in his ranks to try to avoid giving Madrid reasons to announce direct rule.
European Commission President Donald Tusk called on Puigdemont not to divide Spain, but also urged restraint on Madrid. To look for dialogue. The leader of the opposition Socialist Party, Pedro Sanchez, backed Rajoy's demand for clarification in order to "get out of the swamp".
"The stakes are high - losing Catalonia, which has its own language and culture, would deprive Spain of a fifth of its economic output and more than a quarter of exports".
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