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Spain threatens to suspend Catalonia's autonomy in crisis

12 October 2017

The deal between the Socialists and Rajoy's People's Party primarily is aimed at appeasing the Catalans by reforming the system that governs all the autonomous regions.

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.

He said his government had asked the regional government to clarify whether or not it had declared independence. Subsequently, and following se words in Parlament, government promoted a much more explicit declaration of independence that was signed by all members of Junts PEL Yes and CUP after plenary.

Puigdemont leader balked at making a formal declaration of independence from Spain on Tuesday, calling for talks with Madrid over the region's future in a gesture that eased fears of immediate unrest in the heart of the euro zone. Failing this, Article 155 would be triggered.

Catalonia's president has no choice but to suspend secession since it is unlikely anyone will recognise the Spanish region on the basis of a disputed referendum, says a former British diplomat who has advised the Catalans and other secessionist movements.

"They both keep on repeating the same things", resident Alicia Gallego said, referring to Rajoy and Puigdemont.

But this year's event comes amid turmoil sparked by the 1 October referendum in Catalonia, declared illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court.

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.

The Spanish government will define today its response to the President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont´s decision to discontinue the proclamation of independence of that region to promote a negotiation on the serious territorial conflict.

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It was not immediately clear how many people were killed in the fight and how many were killed by security forces, he said. The cause of the riot called the confrontation between rival gangs inside the prison.

Nearly 90 per cent of voters backed independence with a turnout of 43 per cent, Catalan officials say.

Madrid responded angrily to Puigdemont's speech to Catalonia's parliament, saying his government could not act on the results of the referendum.

"There is no possible mediation between democratic law and disobedience and unlawfulness", Rajoy said, throwing the ball back to the Barcelona-based Catalan authorities for the next move.

"We have given up absolutely nothing.We have taken a time out.which doesn't mean a step backwards, or a renunciation or anything like that", Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull told Catalunya Radio.

According to news media, among the measures taken by Rajoy to tackle down secessionist challenge is an eventual intervention of Catalonia's autonomy through the application of Article-155 of the Constitution.

It was not clear how the Catalan government would respond to that offer.

Puigdemont's speech sowed citizens ' confusion yesterday. The EU has been cool to Puigdemont's calls for European mediation.

The region itself is deeply divided on the issue, with polls suggesting Catalans are roughly evenly split on whether to go it alone.

Spain threatens to suspend Catalonia's autonomy in crisis