Spanish King Denounces Catalan Vote As Puigdemont Insists Independence Is Near

October 4, 2017, 8:41 AM UTC

King Felipe of Spain denounced the Catalan government for destabilizing the country as the leader of the regional government repeated his intention to declare independence within days.

Carlos Puigdemont told the BBC late Tuesday that the declaration will come a couple days after all the votes from the contentious poll have been counted, including those made from overseas.

“We will act over the weekend or early next week,” he said.

The referendum, which took place last Sunday amid a bloody crackdown by Spanish military police, was illegal under the Spanish constitution. EU member states and the European Commission have expressed no support for the Catalan independence cause, nor has the business world—the region is Spain’s industrial hub, after all.

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.

In a fiery speech on Tuesday evening, Spain’s King Felipe accused the Catalan authorities of “scorning” Spanish unity and threatening the stability of the whole country.

Per the Guardian‘s translation, the king said the Catalan government had “eroded the harmony and co-existent within Catalan society itself, managing, unfortunately, to divide it.”

For his part, Puigdemont claimed his government “would always have liked this process to be driven by dialogue [as] there wouldn’t have been the police violence.”

Spain’s financial markets have been shaken by the crisis. The benchmark IBEX 35 stock index fell another 2.0 percent in early trading Wednesday to a seven-month low, while the premium offered by Spanish government bonds over German ones – an indicator of political risk – rose to over 1.3 percentage points, the highest since April.

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