Catalan independence won’t be stopped, politician vows

October 5, 2017, 8:37am

Catalonia will declare independence from Spain on Monday, a pro-independence lawmaker claimed Wednesday, further dimming hopes of de-escalating tensions between Madrid and the semiautonomous region.

Mireia Boya, a Catalan politician from the pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy party, said the declaration would follow an extraordinary parliamentary session held to discuss last Sunday’s referendum.

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“In no case will it be stopped,” she said in a post on Twitter.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was less forceful, however, saying that he was in favor of mediation as a way to resolve the constitutional crisis. But Madrid has rejected calls for negotiations, with both sides exchanging barbs in the days since Sunday’s non-binding vote.

In a televised address Wednesday, Puigdemont criticized Spain’s King Felipe, who had accused the Catalan government Tuesday of “irresponsible behavior” and of trying to “break the unity of Spain.”

Addressing the King directly, Puigdemont said the monarch’s stance “disappointed many people in Catalonia” by endorsing the position of Madrid rather than calling for a dialogue.

Catalans who took part in the referendum balloted strongly in favor of independence, but only 42 percent of eligible voters participated. Most Catalans opposed to secession boycotted the vote, which had been banned by the country’s Constitutional Court and was met with a brutal response from central government authorities.

Madrid responded swiftly to Puigdemont, saying his criticism of the king showed he was “out of touch with reality.” The statement said that before any negotiations took place, Puigdemont had to “return to the path of law,” as the government would not accept “blackmail.”

Spanish media reports claimed Wednesday the Catalan government had sought out leading figures from the Catholic Church over a mediation role, but Madrid remained opposed to talks.