World Bulletin / News Desk
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has ruled out the prospect of granting the people of Catalonia the chance to determine their future, despite calls for a referendum on the issue of independence.
Saying that he will not allow the sovereignty of the Spanish people to be put into question, Rajoy said in an interview on Antena 3 TV on Monday that "the state is prepared for any scenario that may occur. The law will be enforced."
Speaking frankly, the Prime Minister said "There will be no referendum that calls into question the sovereignty of the Spanish people. There will be no independence of Spanish territory while I'm in charge."
Catalan politicians last week agreed to ask the Madrid-based government whether it could hold such a referendum. Although Madrid has already described such a move as "unconstitutional" and will most likely reject the proposal, Catalonia’s regional government already announced that it would hold a referendum on November 9.
The separatist voice of Catalonia has grown louder in recent years, especially since Spain’s economic crisis left the country with the highest unemployment rates in the European Union. Catalonia, which provides about a fifth of Spain’s overall income annually, mainly relies on its booming tourism industry. In September 2012, 1.5 million Catalonians gathered in Barcelona demanding independence.
Home to about 7.6 million people, the north-eastern region of Catalonia is found along the French border and even has its own language, boasting of Barcelona of being their capital.
Independence movements in Andalusia, Galicia and Basque Country also threaten to pick up steam as the Madrid administration grows increasingly weak amid the financial crisis.Last Mod: 22 Ocak 2014, 09:24