Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Confusion in Catalonia: independence declaration signed but not implemented

Confusion in Catalonia: independence declaration signed but not implemented

But in discussing the controversy now raging over Catalonian independence, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also made clear Tuesday that the administration stood by the president's remarks September 26 that "Spain is a great country and it should be united".

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has demanded the Catalan authorities clarify whether or not the region declared independence following the local leader's speech on the October 1 referendum results.

Rajoy has vowed to use everything in his power to prevent independence and has refused to rule out imposing direct rule over the semi-autonomous region - an unprecedented move many fear could lead to unrest. The document voices the region's call to the states and global organizations "to recognize the Catalan Republic as an independent and sovereign state".

Nearly 90% of voters backed independence with a turnout of 43%, Catalan officials say. Those who opposed the referendum had said they would boycott the vote.

Lauren Frayer, reporting for NPR from Barcelona, spoke to graduate student Eugenio Juliá, who "is paying close attention because he's anxious the terms of his grad school scholarship might change if Catalonia leaves Spain and the European Union", Frayer says. "He was very ambiguous".

Rajoy, speaking after an emergency session of his ministerial team on Wednesday, said the cabinet had agreed to issue a formal request to the Catalan government in Barcelona for confirmation of whether it has declared independence.

Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said the Catalan leader "doesn't know where he is, where he is going and with whom he wants to go".

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He said: "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".

"Puigdemont himself could face charges of rebellion", Frayer explains.

The government stuck to its stance that it would not accept mediation or any talks until Catalan leaders drop their independence bid.

Rajoy has to make up the political ground and start engaging in negotiations with Catalonia.

Rajoy gave Puigdemont until Monday to clarify whether the declaration of independence is real - and, if it is, until October 19, eight days from now, to either back down or be deposed.

The crisis has caused deep uncertainty for businesses in one of the wealthiest regions in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy.

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