Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Spanish Official Threatens Execution for Leader Who Declares Catalan Independence

Spanish Official Threatens Execution for Leader Who Declares Catalan Independence

Spain faces a week of deep political uncertainty as the secessionist leader of Catalonia considers whether to make a unilateral declaration of independence, against the backdrop of a bitter standoff with the central government in Madrid.

Spain's finance minister on Monday blamed the Catalan government for companies moving their headquarters out of the region, while his euro zone colleagues played down the impact of the Spanish crisis on the shared currency.

But the mayor of Barcelona says the "main culprit" for the crisis is the central government, and urges Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to avoid escalating the crisis further by resorting to a constitutional clause that would allow central authorities to take over some or all regional control.

"The ideal situation would be that I don't have to find drastic solutions", Rajoy said this weekend.

The sides dug in as the clock ticked down to an evening session today in the regional parliament where separatists have called for an independence declaration, a plan that has raised concerns for stability in the European Union.

Sanchez told reporters in Barcelona that "the same way that we are offering our hand for a dialogue, we will also support the state's response if coexistence among Spaniards is broken unilaterally".

Spain's President Rajoy has said he would use all lawful means to keep Spain intact.

The global community is also speaking up on the eve of what could be Spain's most dire crisis in recent history.

In fears of the independence declaration, the High Court of Catalonia asked on Monday for the protection of Spanish police instead of local Catalan police, who acted on the behalf of the Catalan government during the independence vote.

He told German newspaper Die Welt: 'We will do everything that legislation allows us to ensure this'.

Separatist leaders in Catalonia have declared valid a pro-independence victory in a disputed October 1 referendum that Spain calls illegal.

And France said that Catalan independence would not receive worldwide recognition.

"Given the negative implications of independence for economic activity in Catalonia due to its likely exclusion from the European Union and euro area, we think the likelihood of independence is very low", a note from JP Morgan analysts read today.

With its own language and cultural traditions, demands for independence in Catalonia date back centuries but have surged during recent years of economic hardship.

"If they declare independence, there will be decisions to restore the law and democracy", he said in a radio interview Monday.

At least 860 people were injured in the clashes which were condemned by a Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

Saenz de Santamaria also called for members of the Catalan government "who still respect democracy and freedom to refrain from jumping into the void".

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