Catalonia’s parliament is debating the regional government’s push for independence, a day before Spain is expected to reassert control.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont opted not to call regional elections as a way of breaking the deadlock with Madrid, asking MPs to discuss the way forward.
The Spanish government plans to strip Mr Puigdemont of his powers.
The Senate in Madrid is expected to approve the move on Friday under Article 155 of the constitution.
Large crowds gathered outside the regional government building in Barcelona, ahead of Mr Puigdemont’s much-anticipated statement.
Many hoped that he would declare independence. But there has also been speculation that he might call regional elections in a effort to avoid rule from Madrid.
However Mr Puigdemont did neither. “I have been prepared to call elections, as long as guarantees are given,” he said.
He added that Spain’s governing Popular Party had not given such assurances – without giving any details.
“It is up to the (Catalan) parliament to proceed with what the majority determines,” he said.
Mr Puigdemont declared independence after a referendum on 1 October, which was ruled illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court. But the Catalan leader immediately suspended implementation, calling for talks.
During Thursday’s parliamentary session in Barcelona, a government spokesman said a proposal to implement the results of the referendum would be submitted to MPs on Friday.
Reacting to Mr Puigdemont’s latest statement, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria defended her government’s handling of the crisis.
She said the Spanish model was “one of the most decentralised in the world”, adding: “We’ve always shown our sincere desire to collaborate. The pro-independence camp have made it clear they don’t want dialogue.”
Earlier this week Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced plans to trigger Article 155 allowing direct rule, for the first time in the country’s history.
Under the proposals, Mr Puigdemont would be removed and new regional elections held. Madrid would take control of Catalonia’s finances, police and public media.
The Catalan government said that of the 43% who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favour of independence.
Original post: BBC News – Worldhappy wheels