Spain asks Catalonia: Did you declare independence, or not?

BARCELONA — Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took a tentative step on Wednesday toward seizing administrative control of Catalonia, but he asked the region’s leader to first clarify whether he had actually declared independence from the rest of Spain following an unusual series of events the night before.

In a short news conference, Rajoy called on Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s leader, to confirm whether he had declared independence, given what the Spanish prime minister called “the deliberate confusion” generated by the comments and actions from Puigdemont and other Catalan leaders on Tuesday.


Pending a response from the Catalan government, Rajoy said that he was initiating a request for his government to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution — a broad, forceful tool that has never been used in modern Spanish democracy.

The article would allow Madrid to suspend Catalan lawmakers and take charge of the region’s autonomous administration, although Rajoy’s move does not commit him to an emergency intervention and he set no deadline for a response by the Catalans.

“It is urgent to put an end to the situation that Catalonia is living,” Rajoy said. “The government wants to offer certainties to

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