Catalan leader, Puigdemont under pressure to declare full independence


In addition to pressure from Spain, two key allies of Mr Puigdemont's government called on him to ignore the Spanish government's threats and press ahead with proclaiming a new republic.

Two men, one wearing a Spanish flag, left, and the other wearing an estelada' or independence flag, talk during the celebration of a holiday known as "Dia de la Hispanidad" or Spain's National Day, in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. He had said that Catalonia was proceeding with a declaration of independence, but proposed freezing its implementation for a few weeks to allow for dialogue and mediation with Spain's government.

"The events that we are experiencing in Catalonia make us more prudent", Sainz de Santamaria said after the weekly cabinet meeting.

Spain's government has threatened to activate unprecedented measures to take over Catalonia's self-government if secession plans go forward. The move disappointed some of the hard-liners in the secessionist camp.

Rajoy accused Puigdemont of creating "deliberate confusion" and said that the Spanish government needed to know whether or not he had declared the northeastern region independent from Spain, BBC reported. Central authorities in Madrid had declared the referendum illegal and most opponents of independence boycotted it, reducing turnout to around 43 percent. If Puigdemont was to confirm he did declare independence, he would be given an additional three days to rectify it, until Thursday, October 19 at 0800 GMT.

"If we believe that independence is simply proclaiming Republic is that we do not know reality", he said, and has added that Catalonia faces a hard-to-gnawing bone that costs much to influence worldwide opinion. "Rajoy has two objectives: if Puigdemont remains ambiguous, the pro-independence movement will get more fragmented; if Puigdemont insists on defending independence then Rajoy will be able to apply Article 155", said Antonio Barroso, deputy director of the London-based research firm Teneo Intelligence.

If he failed to do so, Rajoy added, the government would use article 155 of the constitution, which permits the imposition of direct rule on autonomous regions.

"It doesn't make sense to keep the suspension of the independence declaration" given Madrid's rejection of any dialogue, ANC said in the statement.

The ANC is a civil society group that organized massive protests in support of secession. Puigdemont had been widely expected to unilaterally declare Catalonia's independence on Tuesday after the Catalan government said 90 percent of Catalans had voted for a breakaway in an October 1 referendum.