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Catalonia’s leader Carles Puigdemont warns of escalating crisis with Madrid

’s leader gives a speech at the region’s parliament in Barcelona, October 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The leader of ’s semi-autonomous Catalonia region has warned of an escalating crisis with over the region’s continued ambitions for independence.
“To solve what the government has called an extraordinary serious situation, it will create an even more serious extraordinary situation by seizing Catalonia’s political autonomy,” Carles Puigdemont wrote in a letter to the Spanish senate on Thursday.
The Catalan regional president insisted that taking over powers from the semi-autonomous region would be an “affront” to Spain’s constitution.
Spanish senators are expected to approve measures on Friday that would remove Catalonia’s independence-seeking leadership and suspend its semi-autonomous status.
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told the parliament on Wednesday that the government was determined to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which allows Madrid to impose direct rule over the wealthy region.
That decision has been made because Catalonia has failed to renounce its independence bid.
The region has threatened back that it would unilaterally declare independence if Madrid started the process of suspending the region’s autonomy.
Spain has been in turmoil since the separatist government in Catalonia held a controversial referendum on independence on October 1 in open defiance of Madrid. The Catalan leader has claimed that 90 percent of the voters in the contentious plebiscite had backed secession, but the turnout had been put at only 43 percent.
On October 19, Puigdemont signed a symbolic declaration of independence but suspended it shortly afterward and called for talks with the central government on the fate of the region. But he has refused to clarify whether that suspension amounted to a total renouncement of the bid for secession.