Puigdemont says Catalonia to declare independence in 'matter of days'

Lionel Messi

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King Felipe VI on Tuesday branded the independence drive illegal and undemocratic, throwing his weight behind the national government.

"We held the referendum amid an unprecedented repression and in the following days we will show our best face to apply the results of the referendum", Puigdemont said.

- Spanish Prime Minister calls on Catalonia to retreat to avoid greater evils.

"Your decision yesterday disappointed many people in Catalonia", he added, addressing the king directly.

The Spanish Constitutional Court has suspended Next Monday's session of the Catalan parliament in an attempt to to prevent Catalonia's bid for independence. According to the Catalan government, nearly 900 people were injured as police raided over 300 polling stations.

Politically, the situation is complex for the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. CaixaBank's share price is also around 7% lower now than before the referendum. Telecommunications giant Telelefonica, fashion retailer Inditex and leading energy companies Repsol, Iberdrola and Gas Natural also suffered significant losses.

Carles Puigdemont, the President of Catalonia, slammed the King's speech, accusing him of following the central government's "catastrophic" policies towards the region.

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Organizers said the strike would "stop the country".

When asked by the BBC what Puigdemont would do if the Spanish government were to intervene and take control of Catalonia's government, he said it would be "an error which changes everything".

Puigdemont said he was not afraid of being arrested for organising Sunday's banned referendum. Telecommunications firm Eurona saw its stock pop by 8% after it said it would move its headquarters from Barcelona to Madrid, while biotech outfit Oryzon-which has announced the same move-saw its stock price rise by nearly 13%.

The ruling upheld a challenge not from the government in Madrid but by the Socialists' Party of Catalonia which opposes secession from Spain.

Joanna Cherry, a lawmaker from the Scottish National Party, called on the European Union to "up its game". He told legislators in Brussels "all lines of communication must stay open".

It buys some time in what's already the biggest constitutional crisis since democracy was restored in Spain in the late 1970s.

Catalonia is Spain's engine of growth, accounting for 19 percent of its GDP.

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While the full economic impact of Catalonia's potential independence from Spain is impossible to predict, it would likely be a painful process for both parties - especially if it comes through a unilateral secession. According to preliminary results, about 90 per cent of ballots cast were for independence, but many opponents are believed to have ignored the referendum.

The parliament meeting on October 9 was expected to be Puigdemont's official call for Catalonia's independence.

Timmermans repeated the commission's view that the dispute was "an internal matter for Spain", but called on all sides to follow the "road of dialogue and cooperation".

He said Germany wasn't seeking to mediate in the dispute between Madrid and the regional government in Barcelona.

Rajoy has ruled out global mediation as a format for resolving the future of Catalonia, offering instead all-party Spanish political talks to find a solution, on the condition independence is taken off the table.

Spain's constitutional court tried to pre-empt an independence declaration today by suspending a Catalan parliament session planned for Monday. But Rajoy insists Puigdemont must first drop the threat of declaring independence.

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