Carles Puigdemont has until 10 a.m. on Monday to reply to the central government's formal notification regarding his unconstitutional behaviour related to the Catalan referendum of October 1, a copy of the notification obtained by The Spain Report shows.
If Mr. Puigdemont replies that the independence of Catalonia has not in fact been declared and acts to make that clear, the process of the suspension of home rule in the region will not continue.
If he replies that it has, or if the reply is anything other than "a simple affirmative or negative reply", or if he does not reply at all, he then has a further three days—until 10 a.m. on Thursday, October 19—to revoke that declaration of independence and return to the rule of law.
The Catalan First Minister has now been formally notified that the process to suspend home rule is underway: the notification itself is the first step.
The document, which is explicit and specific to the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, was faxed by the central government to Barcelona shortly before 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
It requires Mr. Puigdemont comply with his "constitutional and legal duties" and "cease actions" which are "gravely contrary to the general interest of Spain".
The grave nature of the prejudice to the general interest is repeated several times throughout the eight-page document.
The Catalan First Minister, it says, has repeatedly ignored the Constitutional Court on matters related to the Catalan referendum and independence process and his regional government has done so with "such intensity" that "non compliance with this notification would mean a grave risk to the maintenance constitutional order".
The central government says it now has a duty "to proceed to activate the application of the procedure to apply Article 155 of the Constitution" if Carles Puigdemont does not confirm the independence of Catalonia has not been declared.
The "unconstitutional application" of the suspended regional referendum law was key part of the "secessionist drift", says the text, and the accompanying secession law was "radically contrary to the sovereignty of the Spanish people" and represented a "fundamental step for the supposed creation of a Catalan republic".
Both were suspended by the Constitutional Court.
The text refutes the Catalan government's claims to a basis for self-determination in international law. The regional administration's actions, says Madrid, "not only have no support in international law but are a frontal assault on it".
The way the two regional bills were passed has "violated minimum democratic guarantees".
Spain, like other states, "does not foresee the unilateral secession of a part of its territory because of the mere will of a minority in a regional parliament".
Despite repeated court orders, the Catalan government has continued "to avoid the action of justice as far as possible", demonstrating "manifest, deliberate and stubborn" non compliance.
The neutrality of public powers in the region is "broken", the separation of powers has been "eliminated", and citizens' rights "fractured".
The situation is now a "grave risk for democratic coexistence".
The Spanish government accuses Mr. Puigdemont of using "premeditated confusion" in his statement to the regional chamber on Tuesday, which left the country wondering what he had really meant.
"If the actions of September 10, 2017 last are considered by the First Minister of the government of Catalonia to constitute a declaration of independence, current or not", says the text, the process to suspend home rule will continue.
The central government says the application of Article 155 is a "legitimate, constitutional" option to "guarantee constitutional order, democratic coexistence and the normal working of institutions and public services" in the region.
The next stage of the process to suspend home rule in Catalonia would be to notify the Senate that Mr. Puigdemont has not complied with today's formal notification, or replied in an incorrect manner.