Rajoy’s ‘no’ to negotiation ‘won’t help solve’ the stalemate between Catalonia and Spain

  • 'It is not the answer that we were hoping for, and it won’t help solve the conflict,' said Puigdemont

26.05.2017 - 10:14

The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, admitted on Thursday that he was disappointed by the Spanish President’s negative answer to his invitation to open negotiations about an independence referendum. “It is not the answer that we were hoping for, and it won’t help solve the conflict,” said Puigdemont during the inauguration of an economic conference in Sitges. Mariano Rajoy warned the Catalan President that negotiations on the referendum are “impossible” and that he will “not allow” him to “unilaterally liquidate the Spanish Constitution, Spain’s unity and national sovereignty”.

Rajoy suggested that Puigdemont present his referendum plans to the Congress, to what the Catalan President insisted that Catalans have done so in “numerous occasions”, always to find their proposals turned down. Instead, the Catalan President said that the two governments should sit down at the negotiation table and agree on the principle of a referendum. Puigdemont pointed out that going before Congress to find a closed door again would be “futile”.

The leader of the opposition in Catalonia, unionist Inés Arrimadas, warned that the Catalan Government is “trapped” and cannot continue with its independence plans. Spain’s rejection of negotiations also prompted a response by the radical left CUP. The MPs of this pro-independence group, who offer parliamentary stability to Puigdemont’s government, urged him to announce “a date and a question” for the referendum as soon as possible. The anticapitalists asked the Government to “not wait one more minute” and start “all preparations” to organize a proper referendum.

Puigdemont’s letter to Rajoy was his “last offer” to agree on the celebration of a referendum. The Catalan Government has said on numerous occasions that it will go ahead with a referendum in Autumn even if it does not have Madrid blessing. The Spanish government, for its part, has warned that it will try to block any attempt to put out the ballot boxes, insisting that it is preparing to use “all of the tools” at its disposal to do so. The Spanish Constitution allows for the suspension of an autonomous community’s self-government if the State sees a risk to the stability of the country. As a last resort, the Constitution also enshrines the Army as guarantor of Spain’s unity.


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