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Spain wants clarity over Catalonia's independence

By Ciaran Giles

Spain's prime minister has said the central government has given Catalonia's leader a deadline of Monday to clarify whether he has declared independence.

Mariano Rajoy said if Catalan president Carles Puigdemont's response is that he indeed has formally proclaimed independence, he will have a few more days to drop the implementation of the declaration.

Both deadlines have been included in a formal demand sent to the Catalan government.

Mr Rajoy announced the measure earlier yesterday in a veiled threat to trigger a constitutional article that could end with the suspension of Catalonia's autonomous powers.

Mr Rajoy had earlier stressed that Mr Puigdemont's response would be crucial in deciding "events over the coming days" and he said he "just needs to say he didn't declare independence".

Mr Rajoy's demand was in response to Mr Puigdemont's announcement that he was proceeding with a declaration of independence following the disputed secession referendum Catalonia held on October 1, but suspending the move for several weeks to facilitate negotiations.

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