Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Spain moves towards activating 'nuclear option' on Catalonia crisis

Spain moves towards activating 'nuclear option' on Catalonia crisis

But in a parliamentary speech Puigdemont immediately called for independence to be suspended to allow for negotiations with the central government.

In a much anticipated address to the Catalan Parliament on Tuesday night, President Puigdemont said: "We call on worldwide states and organisations to recognise the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state".

Catalonian President Carles Fulgedemont subsequently hinted he would unveil an American-style declaration of independence, but on Tuesday backed down and instead endorsed negotiations.

"We aren't criminals, nor insane, nor coup plotters, nor abducted", he said.

"I assume ... the mandate that Catalonia become an independent state in the form of a republic", he said to prolonged applause.

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However, in a caveat disappointing to some supporters impatient for independence, he added: "I propose suspending the effects of the declaration of independence to undertake talks in the coming weeks without which it is not possible to reach an agreed solution".

But Spain's political establishment rounded on Puigdemont following his declaration, and support among separatists in Catalonia was mixed.

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The article allows Madrid to strip Catalonia of its broad autonomy and take control of some or all of its powers.

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

European Council President Donald Tusk had urged Puigdemont not to proclaim independence.

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Thus Catalonia finds itself in constitutional limbo, as the Spanish Government announces it has requested clarification on whether or not the Catalan Government has actually declared independence.

Spain and Catalonia now enter into the unknown, as Madrid has repeatedly said independence is not up for discussion.

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". The official results of the vote showed that 90.18 percent, or more than 2.28 million voters, supported the secession of Catalonia from Spain, with a turnout exceeding 43 percent.

What have both sides said?

Crowds of thousands gathered outside the parliament building in Barcelona on Tuesday ahead of Puigdemont's speech, waving Catalan flags and banners and screaming "democracy" in the hope of witnessing history in the making.

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