Amid reports that Catalonia could declare independence as soon as Tuesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expressing confidence in his ability to forcibly stop such a declaration. He is also threatening “consequences” if the Catalans continue to challenge his rule.
Rajoy is now suggesting he could invoke a never-used constitutional provision allowing the national government to seize the region. Rajoy also suggested Catalonia would lose its long-standing autonomy.
The Spanish government sought to forbid last week’s independence referendum, which overwhelmingly passed. National police were deployed to crack down on voters, which is fueling a lot of anger within Catalonia.
The police crackdown was already leading to mass protests and a general strike, and it’s hard to imagine trying to seize total control of the autonomous region wouldn’t make the unrest far, far worse.
The threats have given some Catalan officials pause, with some calling for a “ceasefire” to try to calm the situation, and others insisting it just underscores the need to declare independence quick and get away from Spain.
There appears to be no room for negotiation, however, with Rajoy ruling out any negotiations, and insisting Spain “doesn’t need mediators,” but just needs Catalonia to abandon any ambitions of self rule.
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