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Madrid rebukes Catalan leader, independence put on hold
12 October 2017, 01:00 | Lionel James
The declaration was signed by the Catalan president and regional leaders on Tuesday
Rajoy, speaking after an emergency session of his ministerial team on Wednesday, said the cabinet had agreed to issue a formal request to the Catalan government in Barcelona for confirmation of whether it has declared independence. "Maybe, it could help (us) to talk if two people representing the Spanish government and two people representing the Catalan government just simply agree on one thing, for instance, naming a mediator."Puigdemont blamed the current turmoil on the state's response. Some aspects of territorial coexistence must be updated", he said, announcing that he had reached an agreement with Rajoy to reform the Spanish constitution".
However, the Spanish government rejected his calls for mediation.
Catalonia pressed ahead with an independence referendum on October 1 that the central government said breached Spain's constitution.
Mr Rajoy's government had repeatedly refused to grant Catalonia permission to hold a referendum on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, since it would only poll a portion of Spain's 46 million residents.
Failing that, Madrid will invoke Article 155 of the constitution allowing it to suspend the region's autonomy and impose direct rule.
Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria described Puigdemont as someone "who does not know where he is, where he's going".
The central government in Madrid has given little indication it is willing to talk, saying it did not accept the declaration and did not consider the referendum or its results to be valid.
Crowds of thousands gathered outside the Parliament building in Barcelona Tuesday evening, waving Catalan flags and banners screaming "democracy" in the hope of witnessing a historic night in a region that remains deeply divided over Independence.
At stake is the future of a region of 7.5 million people, one of Spain's economic powerhouses, whose drive to break away has raised concern for stability in the European Union.
"Dialogue between democrats takes place within the law, respects the rules of the game and doesn't make them up as it goes along".
If Puigdemont was to confirm he did declare independence, he would be given an additional three days to rectify.
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".
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