Catalan president Carles Puigdemont ignores Madrid’s ultimatum

Puigdemont refuses to clarify whether he has actually declared independence and reiterates his call for talks. The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, has refused to clarify whether he declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain last week, but has repeated his calls for negotiations with the Madrid government to resolve the country’s ongoing political crisis.

Although Puigdemont signed a unilateral declaration of independence last Tuesday, claiming that the recent referendum had given his government a mandate to create a sovereign republic, he proposed that the effects of the declaration be suspended for a few weeks to allow for dialogue.

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, responded with an ultimatum the following day. He warned that Puigdemont had until Monday 16 October to confirm whether he had declared independence, and until Thursday 19 October to abandon his push for independence or face the imposition of direct rule from Madrid.

In a letter on Monday, the Catalan president failed to answer Rajoy’s question, asking instead for an urgent meeting “before the situation deteriorates still further”.

“My government’s priority is to wholeheartedly pursue the path of dialogue,” wrote Puigdemont.

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