Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Catalan independence declaration 'will have no effect'

Catalan independence declaration 'will have no effect'

The CUP holds just 10 of 135 seats in Catalonia's regional parliament, but without them, President Carles Puigdemont would have no majority to continue with his separatist course.

Protesters waved Spanish and Catalonian flags, and held banners saying "Catalonia is Spain" and "Together we are stronger".

Gas Natural said its board had made a decision to move its registered office to Madrid for as long as the legal uncertainty in Catalonia continued, joining moves by several other companies.

From there, the ballot boxes were smuggled across the Spanish border in small loads, an activist with knowledge of overall planning said.

Thirty-three police officers were also hurt.

Gas Natural announced its move on Friday and press reports said major highway operator Abertis was considering following suit. Puigdemont had sought to evaluate the result of the independence vote at a session of the regional parliament on Monday until it was suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court. In the days after the October 1 referendum, the momentum appeared to be on his side.

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Madrid has apologised for police use of violence in trying to hinder a weekend referendum it had declared illegal.

But now the tide seems to be turning.

Experts believe that Catalonia's referendum is "the situation has already caused a serious constitutional crisis" amid no clear timeline for an independence declaration and hesitations. Other companies are reportedly considering leaving Catalonia to avoid being cast out of the European Union and its common market in the case of secession. The slogan for the demonstration - organized by the Societat Civil Catalana, the main anti-independence group in Catalonia - was: "Enough, let's recover good sense!"

The march was the largest pro-unity showing since the rise of separatist sentiment in the prosperous north-eastern region that has pushed Spain to the brink of a national crisis.

Catalan leaders have said more than 90 percent of poll-goers voted for secession, but turnout was limited to 42 percent of eligible voters, as police occupied many polling places.

On the eve of the rally, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy issued a stern warning to Catalan leaders who have said they could declare independence this week.

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"I rule out absolutely nothing that is allowed for under the law", he said in an interview with El Pais newspaper.

Today's massive pro-unity demonstration and Mr Rajoy's uncompromising stance are not the only external pressures Mr Puigdemont faces in the countdown to a possible declaration of independence.

"I hope that nothing will happen. I want Spain to become a federal state", Angel, a 50-year-old teacher and supporter of the leftist Podemos party, told dpa.

Spain as a whole was mobilized around the crisis in Catalan with several events this Saturday and Sunday.

The rally was addressed by Nobel prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, who has dual Spanish and Peruvian nationality.

"We will show these minoritarian secessionists that Spain is a modern country", Nobel Literature Prize victor Mario Vargas Llosa, a Peruvian writer who also holds Spanish citizenship, said in a speech at the end of the rally.

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When asked what other countries could follow Catalonia's example, Dr. Steinnes mentioned Scotland which had a similar referendum in 2014, the Basque Country, Flanders in Belgium, Northern Ireland which could potentially break away, but said that none of them was likely to do so in the foreseeable future. "It's not for me to decide what is the right future for Catalonia".

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