Spain Evaluates Response to Catalan Secessionist Challenge

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Earlier, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to clarify whether he actually declared independence of the Spanish region.

The region itself is deeply divided on the issue, with polls suggesting Catalans are roughly evenly split on whether to go it alone.

The Generalitat can not assume the October 1´s results because that was an illegal and fraudulent act, he stressed in reference to the sovereign consultation, banned by the TC at the request of Rajoy administration.

The National Day is a public holiday and commemorates the re-unification of Spain and Christopher Columbus's first arrival in the Americas in 1492.

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Both deadlines have been included in a formal demand sent to the Catalan government. Catalan officials say the final numbers show 90 percent of votes in favor of independence and regional President Carles Puigdemont proclaimed a victory.

The legal validity of the declaration was unclear.

Invoking Article 155 to ease Spain's worst political crisis in four decades would make prospects of a negotiated solution even more remote. He has also rejected calls for mediation.

"If an autonomous community does not comply obligations that Constitution or or laws impose on it, or act in such a way as to seriously adhere to general interest of Spain, Government, upon request to President of Autonomous Community and, in case If not attended, with approval by an absolute majority of Senate, it will be able to take necessary measures to oblige that one to forced fulfilment of se obligations or for protection of aforementioned general interest". This requirement is prior and obliged to implementation of any of measures that Executive may adopt under article 155 of Constitution.

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The EU today urged "full respect of the Spanish constitutional order", with European Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis saying the bloc was following developments "closely".

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said any unilateral independence move would be "irresponsible" and France said it would not recognise Catalonia's "illegal" bid for statehood.

But Spain's economic strains during the world's financial crisis, coupled with resentment that the region pays more in taxes than it receives in investments and transfers from Madrid, have helped push the cause of secession from the fringes of Catalan politics to centre stage.

Spain on Wednesday threatened to suspend Catalonia's autonomy if it follows through on its threat to break away as an independent country in the biggest challenge to Spanish unity in a generation.

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"It is not peaceful, it is not free, it will not be recognised by Europe and now everyone knows it will have costs", he told lawmakers.

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