Hopes of a possible solution to the Catalan independence crisis have been dashed after the regional president, Carles Puigdemont, ruled out a snap election, saying he could not offer fresh polls without a guarantee that the Spanish government would suspend its threat to impose direct rule, the Guardian reported.
Despite intense speculation that he was planning to defuse the situation by announcing elections in return for a similar show of good faith from Spain’s ruling People’s party (PP), Puigdemont said it would be up to the Catalan parliament to decide how to respond to Madrid’s unprecedented actions.
“We have not received the necessary guarantees to justify holding elections,” he said in an address at the regional government palace in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon.
“We have tried to get them but we have not had a responsible response from the PP and they have chosen to increase the tension. I have run out of options.”
Puigdemont was speaking a day before the Spanish senate is due to approve a series of measures to strip his administration of its powers and call new elections within the next six months, under article 155 of the Spanish constitution.
The Catalan government will debate its response to the invocation of 155 in a plenary session on Thursday and Friday at which regional MPs could vote in favour of a unilateral declaration of independence.
Puigdemont said that although Catalan society had done its best to remain calm in the face of the Spanish government’s threats, he would not tolerate its efforts to take control of the region.
“The measures under 155 are illegal and unjust and I am not prepared to accept them,” he said. “No one can accuse me of not being willing to make sacrifices.”