Spanish PM rejects mediation over Catalonia situation
12 Oct 2017, 03:26 ( 5 days ago)
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday addressed the Spanish Congress in the wake of the "suspended" declaration of independence made by Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.
Puigdemont on Tuesday proposed to suspend the effects of the declaration of independence a few weeks in order to open a process of dialogue.
In his speech, Rajoy began by rejecting Puigdemont's offer for dialogue, saying he needed to "offer citizens the clarity and security that citizens need."
He said it was in Puigdemont's hands to "return to normality... and I fervently hope he makes the right choice".
Rajoy cast doubts on the results of the Oct. 1 independence referendum, which has been declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court, saying "nowhere in the world takes what happened on Oct. 1 seriously".
"When the democratic law is broken, democratic society suffers and slips into chaos," said the PM.
"Any government is obliged to defend the unity of the country," he said, highlighting that he had looked for agreements with the Socialist Party and center-right force Ciudadanos.
Rajoy also made an appeal to moderate Catalans and said he had always "been open" to dialogue, but that he could not accept the "unilateral imposition" of a "certain point of view", nor could he negotiate "about the indivisibility of Spain."
Anyone who wanted to mediate had to bear this in mind, he said, insisting there was "no mediation possible between democratic law and disobedience, illegality."
"It is time to put an end to this with serenity, prudence and the aim of returning to coexistence," concluded Rajoy.
Rajoy had previously given a brief press conference from his official residence in the Palacio de la Moncloa, in which he had asked Puigdemont to clarify if he had declared Catalan independence on Tuesday evening.
Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez agreed with Rajoy that Puigdemont needed to explain the situation, but also made an appeal for Constitutional change.
"We have always said the best way to defend the constitution is to reform it. Some aspects of territorial coexistence must be updated", said Sanchez.