Catalan secessionists’ challenge

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Spanish parties vow to fight Catalan secessionists’ latest challenge. Regional authorities are already asking for international observers to oversee October 1 referendum

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is scheduled to meet on Thursday with opposition leaders Pedro Sánchez of the Socialist Party (PSOE) and Albert Rivera of Ciudadanos to craft a joint response to the secessionist challenge in Catalonia, where the regional parliament on Wednesday passed a law to hold an independence referendum on October 1.

The Socialists reiterated their support for the Spanish executive “in defending the rule of law,” while Ciudadanos said that Rajoy can count on their “unwavering” support. All three parties contend that the referendum is illegal on the basis that it violates existing Spanish and international legislation on many fronts.

But the left-leaning Podemos is opting out of this alliance, and rejects the governing Popular Party (PP)’s “use of judges and courts to avoid political channels,” a reference to the fact that the PP will appeal the Catalan law before Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Despite the show of unity in Madrid, the Catalan branch of the Socialist Party said on Thursday that it will not support an initiative by Inés Arrimadas, head of Ciudadanos in Catalonia, to mount a no-confidence motion against the Catalan government. “We don’t think that’s a good solution,” said a spokesperson.

Instead, the Catalan Socialists (PSC) want to try other avenues. “We are trying to prevent a social and political conflict that could be very dangerous,” said Ferran Pedret, a regional deputy for the PSC, in a television interview. “There is still time for dialogue.”

But the left-leaning Podemos is opting out of this alliance, and rejects the governing Popular Party (PP)’s “use of judges and courts to avoid political channels,” a reference to the fact that the PP will appeal the Catalan law before Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Despite the show of unity in Madrid, the Catalan branch of the Socialist Party said on Thursday that it will not support an initiative by Inés Arrimadas, head of Ciudadanos in Catalonia, to mount a no-confidence motion against the Catalan government. “We don’t think that’s a good solution,” said a spokesperson.

Instead, the Catalan Socialists (PSC) want to try other avenues. “We are trying to prevent a social and political conflict that could be very dangerous,” said Ferran Pedret, a regional deputy for the PSC, in a television interview. “There is still time for dialogue.”

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