Spain threatens direct rule unless independence bid DROPPED — Catalonia crisis

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In a little over a decade, Carles Puigdemont has gone from obscurity to becoming the Spanish government's bête noire and the pubic face of the Catalan independence movement.

Following the referendum the Spanish Prime Minister Mr Rajoy's government introduced a new law to make it easier for companies to relocate in what many saw as a tactic to frighten the separatists.

Puigdemont was forced into a delicate balancing act of acknowledging both the right to declare independence and the reality that unilaterally doing so would be extremely unlikely to succeed.

The Catalan government on Tuesday issued an urgent plea for help to the European Union after two independence leaders were jailed as part of a sedition investigation, as protesters took to the streets to demand the "political prisoners" be freed.

The TC recalls that Constitution can be reformed, but that this review can only be done in accordance with procedures envisaged rein and which may apply for assemblies of Autonomous Communities.

He studied Catalan philology at university before becoming a journalist on the Girona-based daily El Punt and helping to launch Catalonia Today, an English-language paper. Otherwise, Madrid can apply Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution known as the 'nuclear option', which would inhibit Catalonia's self-governance.

Omnium and the ANC are grassroots organisations that have long assisted in pro-independence campaigns, including the disputed October 1 referendum on Catalan independence.

In its ruling Tuesday, the court said the law was against national sovereignty and the 'indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation'.

Last week Mr Puigdemont signed a declaration of independence but halted its roll out to allow negotiations to take place.

"The priority of my government is to intensively seek a path to dialogue", Puigdemont said in his letter.

It is possible to see why the pro-independence movement in Catalonia became ever more disenchanted with the conservative regime in Madrid, led by Mariano Rajoy. "Our offer for dialogue is sincere despite everything that has happened".

Around 10,000 Civil Guard and National Police have been stationed in Catalonia since the crisis began and there are fears that using Article 155 could prove a high risk strategy and provoke further mass demonstrations and unrest in the region.

Spain jails Catalonia's civil society leaders for organising peaceful demonstrations.

"It's impossible to ask for independence for Catalonia, and this radical, nationalistic party is asking for independence", Frances Granell, retired Honorary Director General of the EU, said.

Hard-line secessionists want an abrupt and unilateral rupture with the central government in Madrid, while conservative and more moderate separatists have become increasingly worried about the consequences of such a move for Catalonia, particularly after hundreds of companies announced plans to relocate their headquarters outside the region.

It seems on paper this is true as state investment in one of the best performing regions has been declining since 2003.