The show of support for Madrid helped calm Spanish markets this morning, along with comments last Friday from credit rating agencies Moody's and DBRS that they expected Spain to remain united.
Puigdemont announced on Tuesday that he was using the victory in a banned October 1 referendum to proceed with a declaration of Catalan independence, but proposed freezing its implementation for a few weeks to allow for dialogue and mediation with the government in Madrid. Spanish police, ordered to prevent the referendum, clashed with voters and supporters, and Catalan officials said over 900 people were injured. Anti-independence voters largely boycotted the ballot and there were reports of irregularities.
National police were involved in violent scenes as they tried to stop the vote taking place. Rajoy said the ball was now firmly back in Puigdemont's court.
"This call - ahead of any of the measures that the government may adopt under Article 155 of our constitution - seeks to offer citizens the clarity and security that a question of such importance requires", Rajoy said.
If Puigdemont redirects and accepts legality, "bankruptcy of coexistence" would end, something that is urgent in government's view.
The deadline sets the clock ticking on Spain's most serious political emergency since its return to democracy four decades ago.
"It falls to the Catalan leader to restore constitutional normality", he told deputies, rejecting any suggestion of outside mediation in the dispute.
Otherwise, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says, Spain will suspend Catalonia's current autonomy, institute direct rule and possibly even jail the Catalan president. Opposition Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez announced that he was backing Rajoy's efforts to quell the Catalan separatists' defiance, but said the premier had agreed to open talks on amending the constitution in six months. It's unclear how Catalonia can gain control of its defense and foreign affairs, tax collection and management of airports, ports, rail transport and nuclear stations, most of which are now managed by Spain.
The warning came after Catalonia's president Carles Puigdemont announced Tuesday that he had accepted the mandate for "Catalonia to become an independent state" and signed an independence declaration but asked regional lawmakers to suspend it to allow for dialogue with Madrid. In a role led exclusively by a coat of arms of Generalitat and slogan ' Declaration of representatives of Catalonia ', text ensures that "constitutes Catalan republic, as an independent and sovereign State, of law, democratic and social".
He said the "people's will" was to break away from Madrid but he also said he wanted to "de-escalate" the tension around the issue.
If Puigdemont replies before Monday that he indeed proclaimed independence with his Tuesday announcement, he would have three more days to rectify the situation, according to a formal demand submitted by the central government Wednesday.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of residents have thronged onto the streets every September 11, a Catalan holiday, to demand independence.
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