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Catalonia leader Puigdemont fails to clarify independence bid
World | politics | 16:31, 16 October 2017 | 747

AKIPRESS.COM - The president of the autonomous Spanish region of Catalonia has failed to clarify whether he has declared independence, in a letter to Madrid.

Spain had issued a Monday deadline for Carles Puigdemont to clarify his intent - or face direct rule, BBC reported.

Instead, the Catalan leader called for negotiation over the next two months.

Mr Puigdemont declared independence last week after a controversial referendum - but immediately suspended the declaration to allow for talks.

Spain's Justice Minister Rafael Catalá said on Monday that Mr Puigdemont's response to the Madrid deadline was "not valid", Spanish news agency Efe reports.

Mr Catalá said the letter failed to clarify Catalonia's position or explain what measures Mr Puigdemont's regional government was planning in order to fulfil Madrid's demands.

It is now thought that the Spanish government will give Mr Puigdemont until Thursday to revoke any independence declaration, before taking steps to enact direct rule.

The region voted for independence in a controversial 1 October poll declared illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court. Catalan authorities say just under 90% of voters backed independence - but turnout was only 43%.

Polling day was marred by scenes of violence as Spain's police confiscated ballot boxes and attempted to prevent members of the public entering polling stations.

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