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Catalan Independence: Latest News & Analysis

The Catalan government and its allies continue to push for independence. Madrid says it will never allow Catalonia to secede.
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Updated
Latest Updates
12 Apr 22:36
Catalan TV Tries To Brush Off "Joke" Burning Of Constitution, But Takes Video Down

Catalan public broadcaster Televisió de Catalunya issued a statement late on Tuesday evening "lamenting" the "symbolic burning of some pages of a book with false covers that emulated the Spanish Constitution".

The TV station took down the online copy of presenter Empar Moliner's show segment, though, just in case, saying it had done so because it was sorry they had "caused offence". The station said it guaranteed they would not be rebroadcast on its channels.

"Empar Moliner works with "Els Matins" (Mornings) and does satirical, ironic, sharp critiques in a comedy segment during the final part of the show", said the statement.

"In yesterday's gag, Moliner made a metaphorical denouncement of the Constitutional Court's decision, which she understood as discrimination against the rights of the worst off, with the symbolic burning of some pages of a book with false covers that emulated the Spanish Constitution".

12 Apr 19:27
Catalan Public TV Host Burns Copy Of Spanish Constitution Live On Air

Empar Moliner, a presenter on TV show Els Matins (Mornings), broadcast on Catalan public channel TV3, burnt a copy of the Spanish Constitution live on air during her commentary segment on the show on Monday morning.

Ms. Moliner ripped pages out of a copy of the Constitution as she spoke, tossing them into a metal waste bin. She then lit the contents with a match: "Look how well it burns!".

She was making a point on the injustice of a Constitutional Court ruling striking down a Catalan energy law which aimed to stop energy companies cutting off supply to poor families. "Poor Catalans will have to warm up with any book they have [to hand] as a heater", she said.

TV3 has uploaded the full clip to its website, with the title "When warming up in winter is unconstitutional".

PP spokesman Pablo Casado said that his party "demands an apology from TV3 for allowing a Constitution to be burned". He labelled the stunt "worthy of totalitarian regimes".

16 Mar 11:28
Congress Votes In Favour Of Unity Of Spain

After debating the unity of Spain with reference to the question of Catalan independence on Tuesday evening, the Spanish Congress voted 147-79, with 101 abstentions, in favour of the PP's six-point motion, centred on "the unity of Spain", and 131-95, with 114 abstentions, in favour of the Ciudadanos two-point version, centring on "the defence of democracy, equality and the union of all Spaniards". Both motions expressed the support of the house for the government to defend that national unity against those who sought to do away with it. Congress also voted to create two new commissions: one to audit "democratic quality, the fight against corruption and institutional and legal reforms", and the second to watch over the rights over infants and teenagers in Spain.

04 Mar 23:49
S&P Places Catalan Junk Bonds On Creditwatch Negative After Region Appeals New Rating

On Friday evening, Standard & Poors said it was delaying the publication of a new scheduled credit rating for Catalonia for two weeks whilst it considered an appeal from the Spanish region regarding a new rating on Catalan debt, currently rated BB-/B, and placing the region on "creditwatch negative". "The Autonomous Community of Catalonia has requested to appeal Standard & Poor's rating decision", said the agency, which agreed to consider the appeal. "In accordance with Standard & Poor's "Calendar Of 2016 EMEA Sovereign, Regional, And Local Government Rating Publication Dates," published on Dec. 22, 2015, we were scheduled to publish a credit rating action on Catalonia today. Catalonia requested an appeal of Standard & Poor's rating decision. After we determined that the conditions for making such an appeal had been met in accordance with our policies and procedures, we placed our ratings on Catalonia on CreditWatch negative pending the outcome of the appeal. As a consequence, the publication initially scheduled for today has been postponed until the outcome of the appeal and resolution of the CreditWatch placement", said the statement.

22 Jan 10:13
Barcelona CUP Councillor Cites Song Lyrics Offering To Slit King's Throat In Catalonia

Josep Gargantè, a Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) councillor in Barcelona City Hall, said during a session to debate withdrawing the Catalan capital's gold medal from Princess Cristina—in the dock in Palma de Mallorca on fraud charges this month—that: "If the King wants the crown, we will give him the crown: let him come to Barcelona, and we will slit his throat". In the Catalan tune, described variously as an "anonymous" or "popular" hymn, the verses rhyme. The local CUP group later told Europa Press that Mr. Gargantè "had not meant to threaten the monarch", that the song's lyrics "are harsh, but the life of a subject is also very harsh", and that his statements had been taken out of context. The council approved the motion, proposed by Republican Catalan Left (ERC, Esquerra), to withdraw the gold medal from Princess Cristina.

13 Jan 19:37
Artur Mas Resigns His Seat In The Catalan Parliament

Former Catalan First Minister Artur Mas is now also a former member of the regional parliament, the Catalan government announced in a (very) brief statement on Wednesday evening. "The former First Minister of the Catalan government, Artur Mas, has resigned his seat as an MP in the Catalan parliament today", it read. Mr. Mas said on Saturday, when he announced he was proposing Carles Puigdemont as the next First Minister, that he would not take a role in the new regional government, but rather work towards "recreating" his party, Convergència, which he had transformed quite radically over the past few months—in the middle of separatist negotiations and corruption scandals—to fight the regional elections on September 27 and then the general election on December 20.

11 Jan 17:17
King Felipe Will Not Receive Speaker Of Catalan Parliament, Forcadell, Who E-mails Him

King Felipe will not receive the pro-republican Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, so that she might inform His Majesty in person of the appointment of the new separatist First Minister of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, on Sunday evening. She had suggested on Sunday that an audience had been requested, and said in an interview on Monday morning that the notification could also happen in writing. The Royal Household told The Spain Report on Monday afternoon that a message had been sent to the Catalan Parliament asking that the notification happen in writing, via the head of the King's household. The Catalan Parliament said in a statement it had e-mailed the message to His Majesty. Zarzuela refused to comment on the different interpretations being given to the method of communication in the Spanish press, given the delicate political situation, restricting itself to pointing out it was normal for different Spanish regions to notify the King in different ways.

10 Jan 23:32
LIVE BLOG: Barça Mixes Football & Politics: Congratulates Puigdemont On "Historic" New Phase

FC Barcelona tweeted its congratulations to the new First Minister of Catalonia on Sunday evening, mixing football and politics: "Congratulations, First Minister Puigdemont. May skill be with you all in this historic and thrilling phase our country, Catalonia, begins today". Spanish Twitter users were heatedly divided on the merits of the tweet.

10 Jan 20:27
LIVE BLOG: Turull (Junts Pel Sí) Says Artur Mas Is Great, Catalan Separatist Project "Still Alive"

Jordi Turull, speaking for Junts Pel Sí, the other half of the separatist deal, spent most of his reply praising Artur Mas.

  • "Thank you First Minister [Mas] for the lesson you have given us";
  • "First Minister, your gesture is huge and gigantic, now it is up to us to be worth it";
  • "You had every right to govern and you sacrificed yourself";
  • "Artur Mas has stepped aside as an act of service to this country, thank you";
  • "This is a good agreement because it doesn't go against anyone";
  • "The independence process is still alive and from today we will get on with building the Catalan state";
10 Jan 20:14
LIVE BLOG: Gabriel (CUP) Says Puigdemont Must Now Steer Catalonia Towards Republic

Anna Gabriel, speaking for the CUP (the party that has done the separatist deal with Junts Pel Sí) said her party had not given up its core values to do the deal and that Mr. Puigdemont now had the "enormous responsibility" of steering Catalonia towards a republic.

  • "We have the best state structures one could have, its people";
  • "Carles Puigdemont, you have the enormous responsibility of being the First Minister who transitions [us] to the republic";
  • "You have the challenge of opening the independence process even more, of making it more plural, more transversal";
  • "You have, we have, the opportunity to start a new path, which leads, without doubt, towards a free, sovereign country";
  • "We will have to hold out, but let us get ready, because we are ready to win";
  • "We are pro-independence, anti-capitalist and feminist, and we haven't given that up for the agreement";
10 Jan 20:04
LIVE BLOG: Albiol Insists PP Will Never Allow Catalonia To Secede From Spain

Xavier García Albiol, leader of the Popular Party in Catalonia, gave the most combative speech of the evening so far, promising those listening, "Catalans and Spaniards" several times that the PP would not allow Catalonia to secede from Spain.

  • "We are going to guarantee that no one separates Catalonia from Spain";
  • "For as much as you might not like it [looking at Puigdemont], Catalonia will continue to be Spain";
  • "Neither you nor anyone else will begin a process of rupturing Catalonia from Spain";
  • "You [Artur Mas] have managed to cause the disappearance of Unió and messed up CDC. A record!";
  • "You [Artur Mas] are leaving the future of Catalonia in the hands of radicalism and anti-system forces";
  • "We are going to be the opposition that halts those who want to break the unity of Spain";
10 Jan 19:52
LIVE BLOG: Esquerra's Oriol Junqueras In Line To Become Catalan Economy Minister

El Nacional published a list of the regional ministers who will make up Carles Puigdemont's new separatist government. La Vanguardia published a very similar list. Both newspapers said the leader of Republican Catalan Left (ERC, Esquerra), Oriol Junqueras, would become the Deputy First Minister and regional Economy Minister.

  • First Minister: Carles Puigdemont
  • Deputy First Minister & Economy Minister: Oriol Junqueras
  • Spokeswoman & Cabinet Chief: Neus Munté
  • Foreign Affairs: Raül Romeva
  • Territory & Sustainability Department: Josep Rull
  • Health Department: Antoni Comín
  • Education Department: Meritxell Borràs
  • Welfare Department: Dolors Bassa
  • Regional Home Office: Jordi Jané
10 Jan 19:39
LIVE BLOG: Rajoy To Make Statement On Catalonia At 8:30 P.M. From Moncloa

Mariano Rajoy will make an unscheduled statement from Moncloa "from 8:30 p.m. onwards", a spokeswoman for the Spanish Prime Minister's office confirmed to The Spain Report. Asked if the statement would be on Catalonia given its unscheduled Sunday nature, she replied "that is very likely".

10 Jan 19:30
LIVE BLOG: Rabell (Podemos) Says Catalan Independence Is A Bluff, Calls Separatists 'Dreamers'

Lluis Rabell, speaking for Catalunya Sí Que Es Pot (Podemos), slammed the Catalan independence project as a dreamy "bluff" and said that after not winning the "plebiscite" at the September 27 elections, "everything has been outrageous".

  • "There are two roads to independence: by force or by negotiation";
  • "Do you really believe you can create a social security agency without Spain? You're dreaming";
  • "Since September 27, everything has been outrageous";
  • "If Mas is not now the candidate, that has a lot to do with a million votes for the candidacies of change on December 20";
  • "On December 20, we began to see a Catalonia more worried by social problems";
  • "The plebiscite was not won";
  • "There is no legitimacy to begin disconnection";
10 Jan 19:02
LIVE BLOG: Iceta (Socialists) Says Separatists Do Not Have Legitimacy To Push For Independence

Miquel Iceta, the leader of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC, PSOE, 16 seats), argued that separatist groups were about to forge ahead with their plan despite not really having political legitimacy to do so.

  • "You have no legitimacy to make a move of this size";
  • "Seen from the other side, it seems they have decided not to pay attention to any proposal from those of us who represent 52% of Catalans";
  • "They are going to tell us the leadership has not been auctioned, but it has been auctioned, unfortunately it has happened";
  • "Mas said 'we have corrected that which the ballot box did not decide'. This is very worrying";
  • "You did not win the plebiscite on independence in the terms that you framed it";
  • "We would serve the country badly if we took this debate to be a formality that had to be done away with quickly";
  • "The decisions of the Catalan parliament are legitimate and democratic if they are within the current legality. If not, they are not";
10 Jan 18:35
LIVE BLOG: Arrimadas (Ciudadanos) Says Puigdemont Not Fit To Represent All Catalans

Inés Arrimadas, replying for Ciudadanos (25 seats), said Mr. Puigdemont was not ready to become First Minister of all Catalans given his separatist background and acquiescence to Mr. Mas, and that he had completely forgotten about the issue of corruption affecting his party.

  • "We thought we were going to get the number four for Barcelona but we are getting the number three for Girona";
  • "Puigdemont has lots of experience in putting Catalan institutions at the service of the independence movement";
  • "You have not spoken of corruption; you must have forgotten about it";
  • "You have not spoken about the 3%";
  • "Puigdemont cannot represent all Catalans";
  • "There are many similarities between Mas and Puigdemont";
  • "In your agreement you do not talk about co-rrup-tion";
10 Jan 18:23
LIVE BLOG: Opposition Groups Begin (30 Min) Replies To Puigdemont

The session has resumed after its break and opposition replies have begun. Each parliamentary group (there are six in total) can have up to 30 minutes to reply. There has been some talk of the pro-indy groups either giving very short replies or waving their turn to speed up the session before the deadline later tonight. We will find out shortly if that is going to happen. Ciudadanos leader Inés Arrimadas is up first.

10 Jan 17:58
LIVE BLOG: Puigdemont Ends Opening Speech, Speaker Calls Break

Mr. Puigdemont finished outlining his pro-independence government plan and the Speaker called a break of 20 minutes.

10 Jan 17:45
LIVE BLOG: Puigdemont Reels Off Shopping List Of Promises Including Catalan Central Bank

After announcing the previous priorities, including the creation of a Catalan Social Security agency, Mr Puigdemont continued speaking for several minutes with a long shopping list of promises his government would fulfil, mixing the original separatist plan with extra welfare measures for the CUP, and touching almost the entire spectrum of Catalan voter interests, from more welfare measures to better education, more help for small businessmen, a renewed drive to support industry and exports, support for scientific research, the environment, a national water agreement, "responsible and quality" tourism and commerce, competitive infrastructure and…a Catalan central bank. As per the secessionist road map, Mr. Puigdemont said there would be "an agenda of negotiations with the Spanish state and a European and international agenda".

10 Jan 17:34
LIVE BLOG: Puigdemont Outlines Separatist Plan, Wants To Create Catalan Social Security Agency

Following his opening remarks, Mr. Puigdemont spent some time outlining his plan for separatist government in Catalonia, with measures including "culminating the independence process", building the structures of state, passing "necessary" new laws, beginning a constituent process in the region, and making the independence process more international. "The decisions of the Catalan Parliament are sovereign", he said, adding that "The Catalonia we want to build has to be a fairer, more equitable, more cultured, healthier country". He said the region could only safeguard its education system as an independent state. He also made conciliatory remarks towards the CUP, on whose support the new government now depends: "Beating the social crisis depends on the network of the welfare state". "One of the priorities of this chamber", he continued: "is the creation of the Catalan social security agency".

10 Jan 17:16
LIVE BLOG: Puigdemont Begins Remarks With Thanks, Apologies To Voters

Carles Puigdemont, Artur Mas's hand-picked candidate for First Minister of Catalonia, began his remarks after Mrs. Forcadell opened the confidence debate:

  • "A society that does not know how to give thanks is condemned to decadence";
  • "Apologies to citizens for how we have managed the democratic mandate of September 27";
  • "We were about to disperse the great work done by so many people";
  • "Today we demonstrate to our fellow citizens that we remain faithful to their demands";
  • "Saving the appointment but not the legislature would have been worth nothing";
10 Jan 17:07
LIVE BLOG: Catalan Parliament Confidence Debate In Carles Puigdemont Begins

Regional MPs, including Artur Mas, the outgoing First Minister, and Carles Puigdemont, the new, rather sudden candidate, have filled the chamber in Catalonia to begin the confidence debate, and Mrs. Forcadell declared the session open and said the only item on the order of the day was the confidence debate in Mr. Puigdemont, who is about to begin his speech. Mr. Mas was welcomed into the chamber with applause. You can watch the debate live at this link.

10 Jan 16:25
LIVE BLOG: Spokespersons Committee Meets Prior To Puigdemont Confidence Debate

The Catalan parliament's spokespersons committee is in session prior to the confidence debate in Carles Puigdemont, due to begin at 5 p.m. Spanish time.

10 Jan 15:48
LIVE BLOG: Speaker Forcadell Formally Proposes Puigdemont As Candidate For First Minister

The Speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, has formally proposed Carles Puigdemont as the new candidate for First Minister of Catalonia, two hours before the confidence debate is scheduled to begin. The Catalan Parliament e-mailed a copy of the document signed by Mrs. Forcadell and a photo of her signing it. The proposal reads: "In accordance with article 4 of November 5 law 13/2008, regarding the leadership of the government of Catalonia, and having consulted with parties and political groups with parliamentary representatives, I propose to the chamber that the MP Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó be the candidate for First Minister of the Catalan government".

10 Jan 13:32
LIVE BLOG: PP Petitions Speaker To Suspend Confidence Debate On Technicality

The leader of the Popular Party in Catalonia, Xavier García Albiol, has said he has petitioned the (pro-independence) Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, to suspend the confidence debate this evening on a technicality, citing Article 82 of the 264-page regional parliamentary rule book, which requires a two-day period between the provision of the documentation any debate is based on and the debate beginning "unless the Speaker's committee decides otherwise", so there is not much chance of the debate being cancelled. The PP holds 11 seats in the regional chamber.

10 Jan 13:16
LIVE BLOG: PSOE Says It Will Not Accept Unilateral Break Away Or Division Of Catalonia

Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) spokesman Antonio Hernando said during a brief press conference without questions on Sunday that the PSOE is "not going to accept idea of break away or allow Catalan citizens to be divided, or the separation of Catalonia from Spain", and that his party believed the Catalan parliament had already approved a "unilateral declaration of independence and a road map to make it happen" on November 9 last year, the "biggest challenge to the current constitutional order". "The aim of the agreement reached yesterday by Junts Pel Sí and the CUP", he said: "is the disconnection from Spain in 18 months time". The PSOE has an "unwavering commitment to the unity and integrity of Spain, our defence of the Constitution and our rejection of the acts that might lead to non-compliance with the law or the constitution". He said the new Catalan government "must respect all of the terms of the Constitution Court ruling that struck down the separatist declaration of November 9" and that the PSOE supported "the interim government to enforce respect for the law and defend the constitution".

10 Jan 13:00
LIVE BLOG: Catalan Parliament Rules Don't Allow For Filibuster Attempts

A reminder of the Catalan parliament rules sent out by the parliamentary press office on Sunday morning leave little room for last-minute hiccups during the debate and vote this evening. Opposition groups have their turns time limited.

  • The candidate, Mr. Puigdemont, can make initial remarks for as long as he likes;
  • Each parliamentary group (there are six) then gets 30 minutes to make an initial reply;
  • The candidate may speak as many times as he wishes to in reply to other MPs;
  • MPs may reply for the same amount of time as the candidate has used during his remarks;
  • If a group has the right to reply to the candidate following his remarks, they may do so for five minutes;

Given the secessionist plan and the 11:59 p.m. deadline for the vote, we can expect relatively brief opening remarks from Mr. Puigdemont. The initial replies by parliamentary groups could take up to three hours.

10 Jan 10:47
Catalan Parliament Debate & Vote Of Confidence In Puigdemont Begin At 5 P.M.

The vote of confidence in Carles Puigdemont and the preliminary parliamentary debate will begin at 5 p.m. Spanish time (in 6 hours), the Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, confirmed on Twitter. The Catalan Parliament said on its Twitter account that the debate would take place after a meeting of the Speaker's committee at 4 p.m.. The Spain Report will be live blogging the debate for you.

09 Jan 17:13
Artur Mas To Hold Press Conference At 5:45 P.M.

Artur Mas will hold a press conference at 5:45 p.m. Spanish time (in 30 min) at regional government headquarters, his press secretary, Joan María Piqué, announced on Twitter. Mr. Mas is expected to make statements on a last-minute deal between his group Junts Pel Sí and the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP).

Source: || , , Catalan Independence
04 Jan 16:51
CUP Leader Antonio Baños Resigns After 'No' To Artur Mas

Antonio Baños, the leading CUP spokesman during the three months of failed negotiations with Junts Pel Sí (Together For Yes) to re-appoint Artur Mas First Minister of the region, resigned his seat as a regional MP on Tuesday, one day after his party's political council decided to definitively reject the re-appointment of Mr. Mas. In a copy of the resignation letter reproduced in VilaWeb, Mr. Baños said his departure was due to "strictly political motives" and that he was "incapable" of defending the majority decision reached on Sunday, which was contrary to the reasons he became an MP in September: "this legislature was about the irreversible rupture with the Spanish state and, furthermore, the construction of a republic via a popular, social constituent process". He said he felt a sense of "personal frustration" over the outcome.

04 Jan 12:00
Confidence Vote Not Planned In Catalonia, But Still Time For Last Minute Attempt

A confidence vote to appoint a new First Minister in Catalonia, which had been pencilled in for Monday, has not in the end been scheduled, the Catalan Parliament told The Spain Report, but there is still time for a last-minute vote to be attempted, should political circumstances change this week. On Sunday afternoon, minority Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP, 10 seats) voted not to support the re-appointment of Artur Mas. Parties "have until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday night" to vote on a candidate, a parliamentary spokeswoman confirmed, but the deadline is for the vote, and a confidence debate is required before the ballot takes place. The regional parliamentary rule book says after that hour, the interim First Minister must "immediately" call new elections, which would have to be held 40-60 days later (between February 19 and March 10). CUP spokeswoman Anna Gabriel said during a radio interview on Monday morning that a non-Mas left-wing candidate such as Oriol Junqueras (ERC, Esquerra) or Rául Romeva (Junts Pel Sí) would be acceptable to her party and receive their "unanimous" support.

27 Dec 18:15
Second CUP Ballot Votes Against Mas, But Difference Now Even Tighter

The second-round CUP ballot reduced the difference between the votes in favour of or against supporting the reappointment of Artur Mas even further, again tilting slightly against Mr. Mas.

  1. 1482 (48.7%)
  2. 1512 (49.8%)
  3. 28 (0.92%)

With 20 null or blank votes. After the first round, there was a difference of 59 votes, with 227 for the other options. After the second round, the difference was 30, with 48 elsewhere. The third option—to reject the agreement but allow Mr. Mas to be re-appointed to avoid new elections—is now discarded. A third ballot will now take place.

27 Dec 16:31
Tight Result In First Round Of CUP Vote, Tilted Against Artur Mas

CUP members voted against re-appointing Artur Mas First Minister of Catalonia in the first of three rounds of voting on Sunday, with 1,418 members preferring the second of four options, which would lead to new regional elections, but the difference was down to a couple of hundred votes.

  1. 1,359 votes (45.7%)
  2. 1,418 votes (47.14%)
  3. 109 votes (3.62%)
  4. 103 votes (3.42%)

There were 15 null or blank votes. The fourth option—of rejecting both Mr. Mas's reappointment and further negotiations with Junts Pel Sí—will now be discarded in the second round of voting. El Món reported 70 more members had registered to vote following the first ballot.

20 Dec 23:21
LIVE BLOG: Pablo Iglesias Says Podemos Wants Catalan Referendum, Constitutional Reform

Evaluating the general election result, Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said during a press conference that the priority for his party during the upcoming negotiations to form a government was constitutional reform and that the party was in favour of a referendum on the question of Catalan independence. "These results make it clear this is a plurinational country", he said, adding that he thought Podemos was the only national force capable of putting together a new territorial deal for the organisation of Spain.

02 Dec 17:49
Catalan Government Says Legitimacy Of Constitutional Court "Is Zero"

Catalan government spokeswoman and interim Deputy First Minister Neus Munté said the "legitimacy of the Constitutional Court is zero" during a press conference in response to a quick ruling by the court on Wednesday morning that struck down the Catalan parliament's separatist declaration of November 9. She said the government had given new powers to the Constitutional Court rather than "deal with the situation in Catalonia", and added that the declaration had a "predictable, political intent". The court "never disappoints" when it comes to decisions on Catalonia, said Ms. Munté, adding the Catalan government was willing to negotiate "with Madrid and Europe", according to the clauses of the declaration approved on November 9. She also made reference to the ongoing impasse with the CUP over appointing a new First Minister in the region: "It is urgent that Catalonia have a new government to face the attacks from the central government with more strength".

30 Nov 23:33
LIVE BLOG: Rajoy's Non-Debate On Telecinco: Catalonia & Job Creation

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, having decided not to attend the debate, was interviewed on Telecinco at the same time as Sánchez, Iglesias and Rivera clashed online at El País. Most Spanish journalists were watching and commenting on the El País debate. He tweeted about his interview later, saying the Popular Party planned to "lower taxes and create stable jobs" and that "I have been very hard on corruption". He also said he had "no interest in applying Article 155" of the Spanish Constitution in Catalonia (the one the Foreign Secretary described as "a political nuclear bomb") but that "all of the options are bad in Catalonia". The Prime Minister also announced a major new economic proposal: for the government to pay the part of social security payments corresponding to the first €500 of a worker's wages if a company gives the worker a permanent contract, or converts a temporary contract into a permanent one. Audience numbers for the interview will be out tomorrow.

30 Nov 22:12
LIVE BLOG: Ciudadanos, Podemos & PSOE Split On Solutions For Catalonia
  • Albert Rivera: "It's going to be impossible to convince Artur Mas […] his aim is to break Spain"; "The majority of Catalans have voted for parties who do not want independence"; "Spain needs to be reformed, but not broken";
  • Pablo Iglesias: says the "café para todos" model from the Transition is now worn out, Podemos supports a "pluri-national" model for Spain and that Catalans should be able to vote on their future; "There are many Catalans who feel they haven't been listened to"; says the Scottish solution seemed "very reasonable";
  • Pedro Sánchez: "when the PSOE has been in government, there has not been a single declaration of independence in Catalonia", says PSOE will defend the law and constitutional order and wants to "open a space for dialogue". "We want to vote on a new agreement: a constitutional reform", that would create a "federal Spain"; "We have to recognise we are a member of the European Union"; Spain in 2015, he says, "has nothing to do with the Spain of 1978";
10 Nov 15:01
SPAIN'S STATE COUNCIL APPROVES CABINET CHALLENGE TO CATALAN PARLIAMENT

As had been expected, Spain's State Council issued a report on Tuesday unanimously agreeing with the government's plan to present a legal challenge to the separatist declaration approved by the Catalan parliament on Monday. Europa Press said the report had found "sufficient legal basis" for the challenge before the Constitutional Court to go ahead. The council, which offers legal advice to the Spanish government, met on Tuesday morning to discuss the matter. El País reported the council also believed the Catalan parliament had awarded itself powers not granted to it by the Spanish Constitution. The council's report will now be used to prepare an extraordinary cabinet meeting that will likely be held on Wednesday, at which ministers will approve the government's challenge before the Constitutional Court, which is expected to accept the challenge on Thursday and order the immediate suspension of the Catalan declaration.

09 Nov 11:08
EL ESPAÑOL: PUBLIC PROSECUTOR STUDYING CHARGES OF SEDITIOUS CONSPIRACY

Senior public prosecutors in Spain are studying charges of seditious conspiracy for pro-independence politicians in Catalonia, El Español reported, citing sources in the Public Prosecutor's Office. "The most serious course of action under analysis is the criminal [option]", the news site said and, while a decision has not been taken: "experts in the Public Prosecutor's Office believe charges of seditious conspiracy could be brought against the leaders and promoters of the secessionist motion". The crime of sedition in the Spanish Criminal Code is specified for those who "rise up in a tumultuous manner to prevent, by force or outside of legal channels, the application of laws or [to prevent] any authority, official body or civil servant from legitimately carrying out their tasks and the fulfilment of their agreements, or of judicial or administrative decisions". "Authority figures" who encourage sedition can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

09 Nov 10:42
EL MUNDO: SPAIN READY TO CUT FINANCE TO CATALONIA, TAKE CONTROL OF POLICE

The Spanish government is ready to take control of the regional Catalan police force, the Mossos, and to cut financial aid to the region, the former editor of El Mundo, Casimiro García Abadillo, reported on Monday morning in the online version of the Spanish daily, writing that "Spain is facing the biggest political challenge in recent history". The paper cites a Home Office report saying there are only 300 pro-independence Mossos, out of a total force size of 17,000. Control of the Mossos would pass directly to Madrid. Cutting regional bailout financing would leave Catalonia on the brink of default and "there would be problems with the payment of civil servants' wages". The Attorney General's and Public Prosecutor's offices are also working on criminal charges against Carme Forcadell and Artur Mas, El Mundo said. The government intends to hold a cabinet meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday and believes the Constitutional Court will rule on Thursday to suspend today's Catalan motion.

09 Nov 10:15
CATALAN PARLIAMENT BEGINS DEBATE ON RUPTURE WITH SPAIN

The Catalan parliament began debating a "solemn" declaration of rupture from Spain and the beginning of the creation of "an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic" at 10 a.m. Monday morning, after Spain's Constitutional Court, which the regional parliament is expected to vote to disobey, allowed the debate to go ahead in a ruling published on Thursday, saying it was "aware of the risk" the debate and vote entailed but that it would not suspend the motion before it was seen in parliament. Mariano Rajoy's government said it was ready to begin responding "immediately" to the secessionist challenge in Catalonia, and the Prime Minister is set to make a statement later from Béjar (Castilla y León). A second debate, a vote of confidence in Artur Mas as the proposed candidate for First Minister, will take place on Monday evening.

02 Nov 11:19
MARGALLO SAYS "UPRISING" IN CATALONIA MUST BE "SUFFOCATED"

There is a "fully-fledged uprising" in Catalonia that must be "suffocated", Spain's Foreign Secretary, José Manuel García Margallo, said during an interview with Antena 3 on Monday morning, adding that "every time there is a crisis" in Spanish history: "we see these tensions", referring to similar episodes in 1640, 1714, 1931 and 1934. "it's not time for seduction", said Mr. Margallo: "what we now have underway is a fully-fledged uprising, made more serious by two problems: firstly, that it is being directed by an institution of state, not by a political force, […] and secondly that splitting Catalan society in two has not bothered them at all, or in setting that part of Catalan society, to whom they have promised a paradise lost, against the rest of Spanish society. When one encounters an uprising with these characteristics, the uprising [must be] suffocated.

31 Oct 13:30
BAN KI-MOON SAYS CATALONIA DOES NOT HAVE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION

In an interview with La Vanguardia during a visit to Madrid to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Spain's membership, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he did not believe Catalonia was in the group of territories considered by the UN to have the right to self-determination. He said one of the most positive features of Spain was its "respect for cultural, linguistic and historical diversity" and that he hoped a solution agreed upon via dialogue could be found. Asked if laws on self-determination were applicable to the situation in Catalonia, Mr. Ban replied: "Spain has continued to be a sovereign state in itself, including Catalonia. When one talks of self-determination, there are certain areas where the United Nations has recognised that right, such as territories without self-government. But I don't believe Catalonia is included in that category".

27 Oct 14:14
RAJOY "GUARANTEES" CATALAN SEPARATIST DOCUMENT WILL "NOT HAVE ANY EFFECT"

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, made a brief, unplanned institutional statement from Moncloa on Tuesday morning, in response to the news of the motion presented in the Catalan parliament by pro-independence groups, calling it "an act of provocation by those who mean to break the law because they know the law is not on their side". He said his government "guarantees and will guarantee" the rule of law in Spain and will not "renounce any of the mechanisms awarded to it by the Constitution and the law", for "as long as I am Prime Minister". Catalan separatists, he said, "are faced with the law and a government ready to use it" with "firmness and determination". Asked if he was going to use rules allowing him to suspend home rule in Catalonia, Mr. Rajoy said: "I guarantee that what is outlined in that resolution is not going to have any effect at all".

15 Oct 10:50
MANOS LIMPIAS DEMANDS PRO-INDEPENDENCE CUP BE OUTLAWED

Miguel Bernat, the chairman of trade union Manos Limpias, well known in Spain for presenting private prosecutions on a range of political questions where it believes the government is not fulfilling its duty to uphold the law, announced outside the High Court in Barcelona that his organisation had begun the paperwork to demand that minority separatist party CUP—on which the pro-independence majority in the Catalan parliament now depends—be outlawed. He labelled the party "a criminal organisation" which is "calling on civil society to go against the constitutional order and that is very grave". On October 9, the CUP called for an immediate break with Spanish legality in exchange for supporting Junts Pel Sí in what it says is an already sovereign Catalan parliament. Mr. Bernat said Manos Limpias had submitted petitions to the Spanish Home Office and a investigating court.

15 Oct 10:17
ARTUR MAS ARRIVES FOR QUESTIONING AT HIGH COURT IN BARCELONA

The First Minister of Catalonia, Artur Mas, arrived at the High Court in Barcelona on Thursday morning to shouts of "independence" amid a sea of pro-independence supporters and separatist flags. He was received by some 400 secessionist mayors—their mayoral sticks raised high—Junts Pel Sí candidates Raúl Romeva and Oriol Junqueras (ERC), and Catalan government spokesman Francesc Homs, among others, in a long walk to the courthouse steps which appeared entirely victorious in its nature. After Mr. Mas walked up the steps and waved to the crowd gathered below, those waiting sang Els Segadors with raised fists, then cheered and clapped. Mr. Mas is to face the judge's questions as part of a criminal investigation into his role as leader of the Catalan government prior to and during the simulated referendum on independence that took place on November 9, 2014.

30 Sep 10:45
JUDGE WHO SET ARTUR MAS COURT DATE WAS APPOINTED BY MAS'S PARTY

The judge who set Artur Mas's court appearance date to October 15, 2015—on the 75th anniversary of the execution of Lluis Companys, and for the same day the Catalan government had declared a "national" day of "memory of Civil War victims and Francoist repression" in Catalonia, in memory of Companys, "the only democratically elected president in Western Europe executed by fascism"—was appointed to the Catalan High Court in 2012 by Artur Mas's (then) party CiU, El Español reported. Joan Manel Abril was appointed as part of the small group of judges named by regional parliaments in June 2012. "[Judicial] sources—busy at that time with an intense debate generated by trips paid for by public funds and made by chief justice Carlos Dívar—remember clearly that support for the appointment of Joan Manel Abril came unequivocally from CiU and not the PSC [Catalan Socialist Party]", said the newspaper.

28 Sep 19:19
AZNAR SLAMS RAJOY ON CATALONIA, CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER & ELECTIONS

The former Popular Party Prime Minister of Spain, José María Aznar, who chose Mariano Rajoy to be his successor as party leader in 2004, issued a statement via his foundation FAES on Monday afternoon slamming Mr. Rajoy's handling of the Catalan question and the PP's performance in the four rounds of elections Spain has held so far this year. "For the PP it is the worst possible scenario", he said: "Your rival to the left is strengthened, your space is reduced, the secessionists are going to continue the process. Your position is seriously compromised". "There is nothing more dangerous than having an existential problem on the table where the historial continuity of the nation is at stake […] The first rule of politics is that you lose the battles you don't take part in". Mr. Aznar said the "degree of fraction and division in Catalonia" would worsen because of Sunday's election results. On the PP's poor repeated election performance, he said: "there have now been five warnings".

28 Sep 11:15
POPULAR PARTY AND PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE SILENT ON CATALONIA

No one from the Spanish government was set to comment on the Catalan election results on Monday, 12 hours after the results were announced and the pro-independence coalition Junts Pel Sí claimed victory and said it would press ahead with its plan to secede from Spain. A spokesman at Popular Party headquarters in Madrid told The Spain Report a meeting of the party's national executive committee would take place at 5 p.m. on Monday, chaired by Mariano Rajoy, but that it had not yet been decided if anyone more senior than the PP's official spokesman, Pablo Casado, would make statements or answer questions, or if the Mr. Rajoy's speech to the party would be broadcast or be reserved for senior party leaders. Moncloa, the Spanish Prime Minister's office, told The Spain Report that "right now, there is nothing planned", no press conferences or institutional statements on the agenda about Catalonia, either for the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister, on Monday.

27 Sep 18:14
TURNOUT INCREASES TO 63% IN CATALAN ELECTIONS BY 6 P.M.

The Catalan government reported 63.26% of the region's 5.5 million eligible voters had cast their ballot by 6 p.m. on Sunday, a seven point increase compared to the same time of day in 2012. By 1 p.m., the figure was 35.07%, a five-and-a-half-point increase compared to 29.43% at the same time of day in 2012. Participation in 2015 increased across all four of Catalonia's electoral sub-regions, both by 1 p.m and 6 p.m..

Time 2015 2012
1 p.m. 35.07% 29.43%
6 p.m.   63.26% 56.30%
8 p.m. (final)  -/-  67.96%