EU 'Natural' Mediator for Catalonia-Spain Conflict - Spanish Lawmaker


Puigdemont on Wednesday night called for outside mediators to help broker a settlement and said the regional government in Barcelona would soon apply the results of Sunday's makeshift vote.

Catalonia's president, Carles Puigdemont has accused Spain's King Felipe of being a government mouthpiece and "deliberately ignoring millions of Catalans".

Almost 900 people were hurt as police violently tried to enforce a Spanish court order suspending the vote, which the government had declared illegal.

"The government is working on changing the law so that it's no longer need to have a shareholders' meeting, which would delay a change of the legal base in a case of emergency", one of the sources said.

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The government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy - who called the vote a "mockery" and whose position has been supported by the Spanish king as well as other European Union leaders - has so far expressed little desire to involve a third-party negotiator.

Sunday's independence referendum has sparked a major political crisis in Spain.

"There have been 57 referenda on independence in recent decades in Europe, including in the Baltic states and the former Yugoslavia, and in many of those votes, which led to the birth of independent nations, the parent country opposed the referendum", she noted.

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Catalan officials said 90% of the 2.26 million people who took part in the vote backed independence.

According to Mireia Boya, a Catalan lawmaker from the pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party, Monday's declaration of independence would be followed by a parliamentary session to evaluate the results of the October 1 vote to break away. Spain's top court deemed the vote illegal, and authorities moved to suppress it with unusual force.

The political crisis has raised fears the Spanish army could be moved in to enforce direct rule on the region from Madrid.

But by "beating old women at polling stations, it seems to me the Spanish government not only risked eroding democratic principles, but quite simply shot itself in the foot", Svetlova said.

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The divide will fuel further uncertainty over the path to independence for Catalonia, which accounts for about 20 percent of Spain's economic output, raising questions about whether Puigdemont will ultimately back down from his demands.