Sunday, 22 October, 2017

Catalonia referendum 'not legal' - European Union

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola condemned the violence in Barcelona GETTYManchester City boss Pep Guardiola condemned the violence in Barcelona
Bennie Garza | 03 October, 2017, 11:26

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said on Sunday that the Spanish region has won the right to statehood following a contentious referendum that was marred by violence.

What is incomprehensible about the Spanish government's handling of this crisis was that the vote had absolutely no legally binding authority.

"We knew that an empty Camp Nou would send a powerful message", he said in a news conference on Monday. "We do need mediation".

The Madrid government's attempts to prevent Sunday's referendum through the use of police force brought criticism from fellow members of the European Union, including Britain and Belgium.

Rajoy's continued hardline stance may play well in conservative Spain, said Antonio Barroso, a political-risk analyst at Teneo Intelligence in London.

Many Catalans huddled over their cellphones Monday on Barcelona's metro, replaying videos of Spanish police raids on polling stations a day earlier. Before the poll was held, only a minority of people supported independence.

"There is no possibility of dialogue now with the government".

"The situation is really serious in Spain now", said constitutional law professor Fernando Simon of Spain's University of Navarra, who said Catalonia was basically already in a state of rebellion.

The majority of voters called for the region's independence, but Spain doesn't recognize the referendum as legit. Madrid says the constitution prohibits secession and is non-negotiable. While the government has declared the vote an illegal act engineered by a troublesome group of secessionists, the heavy-handed approach may result in greater sentiment for a sovereign Catalonia.

Roughly 5.3 million people were eligible to vote, and most of the region's 948 municipalities agreed to provide voting facilities.

Some analysts said the images of the crackdown may help boost worldwide support for the secessionists.

He added that he had received no indication that the European Union could sponsor this mediating role, and said Brussels had been timid and lacked courage on the matter.

Other European leaders have mostly shied away from commenting on what they consider an internal matter, although some have expressed alarm at the violence.

Photo Catalan nationalists blocked a street in a clash with the police in Spain on Sunday.

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, speaking on Sunday night, thanked the police for acting with "firmness and serenity". Hundreds were left injured.

It isn't clear what will happen if Catalan officials follow through on their pledge to use the vote as a basis for declaring independence, and it remains to be seen whether police aggression will fuel the nationalist movement, as it might well.

THE Taoiseach has said he does not recognise an independent Catalonia - and insists Ireland is Spain's "friend and ally".

Catalon authorities said 844 people needed medical attention after the weekend unrest, with at least 92 confirmed injured.

Catalonia, a region of 7.5 million people bordered by the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, is about the size of Belgium, accounting for 6.3 percent of Spain's territory and 16 percent of its population. Financial markets were rattled.

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