Catalan President: Regional parliament to decide on independence

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Independence from Spain will hang on a decision by the parliament of Catalonia, the regional president, Carles Puigdemont announced on Thursday.

Puigdemont said he made the decision after failing to secure a promise from Madrid that they would not implement federal control of Catalonia if he called for early elections.

“There are none of the guarantees that justify convening elections today,” Puigdemont said on Thursday. 

“I tried to obtain the guarantees,” he said, but “I didn’t get a responsible answer from the Spanish government, which has instead used this option to add to the tension.”

Puigdemont pushed the issue to the regional legislature.

“It is now for parliament to decide its answer to the application” of Article 155 of the national constitution, added Puigdemont.

Spain invoked Article 155 last week. It empowers the federal government to take “necessary methods” if a regional government “doesn't comply with the obligations of the constitution.” 

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had announced a new plan to sack all regional ministers, install its own politicians, and call for new elections.

Puigdemont believed the federal government was not assuring Barcelona that “abusive” measures will not be taken.

"Consequently I can't organize parliamentary elections," he said. "There is no guarantee that justifies elections." 

Handing the decision over the legislature is in line with Puigdemont's criticisms of the Spanish government not upholding democratic values and avoids claims of unilateral actions by the presidency.

"Peace and civility must remain," Puigdemont said. "Only this way, we will be able to win."

About 90 percent of the people in Catalonia voted for independence on October 1, according to Catalan government figures. Most votes were counted despite police efforts. Turnout was 42 percent.

Catalonia’s leaders ignored an earlier ruling by a Spanish court and went ahead with its referendum for independence as Spain’s government condemned the vote as illegal.

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