Former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, who hand-picked Mariano Rajoy to lead the party in 2003, today slammed his successor's management of the crisis in Catalonia in a statement published by the think-tank he chairs, FAES.

Mr. Rajoy, says the statement, which frames the remarks as those of a loyal friend suggesting harsh truths are needed, has made lots of errors in many areas: diagnosis, government, opinion and understanding.

"In Catalonia it is not possible to keep making mistakes for a minute longer."

The statement says the Prime Minister has failed to understand "nationalist dynamics" and the "revolutionary experiment" separatists are putting into practice: "It should be remembered that it was Lenin who discovered the subversive potential of self-determination".

Nationalists are in connivance with Podemos ("anti-system populists") and others in an effort to "destroy the Transition as an agreement and as a narrative of reconciliation among Spaniards".

"Their agendas are different in the end but they are united by the current aim of demolishing the constitutional system of 1978."

"What is happening in Catalonia is astonishing."

Catalan separatists know, writes Mr. Aznar, that their "harassment" of the National Police and Civil Guard could lead to "a removal of security forces" from the region and "symbolically and in reality, of the state itself".

The former Popular Party Prime Minister, in office from 1996 until 2003, places his faith, if not in Mr. Rajoy's current government, in the King, the National Police and the Civil Guard, and suggests ordinary government measures might not be enough to fix the problem.

The Spanish Constitution "deserves to be defended and summoned urgently by its institutions so it may continue on its best path. What the government might do alone will surely not be enough", but the government must "do it first".

He would like Mr. Rajoy to deploy the full range of powers the Constitution offers him: "His parliamentary majority is enough to activate the political power available for the defence of the Constitution".

Mr. Rajoy, says his predecessor, should not wait for the support of Pedro Sánchez and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE)—if the socialists are not forthcoming—before acting with the full power of the Spanish state to restore order.

If the PM "cannot find the energy to do so, or had to recognise his inability to do so", Mr. Aznar believes he should call an early general election so that Spaniards can make that decision.