Catalan crisis is reshaping Spain's political landscape


"They have broken the democratic principles of the rule of law", said Spain's King Felipe in a televised address Tuesday about Catalan leaders. "We do not see a more effective way than sitting and talking", he said. He said he wanted a new understanding with the central government in Madrid. The clashes, he said, mostly started after police officers were stranded inside polling stations.

Spain so far has shown no interest in negotiation, with Prime Minister Rajoy insisting the referendum didn't even take place. Spain's highest court summoned the chief of the Catalan police to answer accusations of sedition, or provoking a rebellion against the state.

Catalan sports minister Gerard Figueras last week said Barcelona may be able to play in another country should the region achieve independence from Spain.

After a proposal by the three main political groups in the European Parliament - the conservatives, the socialists and the liberals - the debate will consider "constitution, rule of law and fundamental rights in Spain in the light of the events in Catalonia". Officials said turnout was about 42 percent of the region's 5.34 million registered voters.

More than 90% of the referendum's participants opted for independence, though that is likely down to the lack of participation by those opposed to independence and the poll itself.

"If somebody tries to declare the independence of part of the territory - something that can not be done - we will have to do everything possible to apply the law", Catalá said.

Mr. Puigdemont has said he will now present the results to the region's Parliament, where separatist lawmakers hold a majority, and which has the power to adopt a motion of independence.

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The king's call for unity and the blame put on the Catalan authorities was interpreted as laying the ground for an upcoming response from Rajoy.

Undaunted, today the Catalan parliament is expected to agree on a date for a plenary session to declare independence.

Manfred Weber, head of the European People's Party (EPP) group - and a key ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel - said what the continent needed was "not more nationalism but more cooperation".

The Venice Commission, the CoE's consultative body, said the vote "does not meet" the commission's standards for a fair referendum, as it is not recognised by the Spanish Government or its constitution.

Puigdemont has appealed for global mediation, although the European Commission said Monday that it "trusted" Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to handle the situation.

"On one side it is a hassle to try to get to work in the midst of a strike", she said.

"We are not here to divide Spaniards. but if someone tries to declare independence on behalf of a part of Spain's territory, that can not be done because it is beyond their powers", said Rafael Catalá.