Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, in an exclusive interview with Spain’s leading newspaper El Pais, spoke about the rising tension between the north-eastern region of Catalonia and the Spanish government. Mr. Rajoy said: ‘I understand that the people are worried. I am worried too. We are talking about the unity of Spain, we’re talking about feelings that run very deep, we’re talking about things that we believe in, that we live and love, so I understand their concern.”
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He then reminded the Spanish population that the government had the possibility to suspend the Catalan government if it should come to that: "I don't rule out absolutely anything that is within the law. Ideally, it shouldn't be necessary to implement extreme solutions but for that not to happen things would have to be changed. I would like the threat of an independence declaration to be withdrawn as quickly as possible."
As he spoke, there were huge rallies both in Barcelona (for Catalan independence) and in Madrid (for Spanish unity)
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Massive rally in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Barcelona?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Barcelona</a> in support of unity of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Spain?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Spain</a> and against independence of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Catalonia?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Catalonia</a>. <a href="https://t.co/QRPoWFTEYO">pic.twitter.com/QRPoWFTEYO</a></p>— Aldin 🇧🇦 (@aldin_ww) <a href="https://twitter.com/aldin_ww/status/916985044962566144?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 8, 2017</a></blockquote>
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The Catalan government, headed by secessionist Mr Carles Puidgemont, has declared they will call Catalonia to be an independent republic as from 6pm local time Tuesday during their session in parliament. The Spanish constitutional court has ruled that Monday’s session of 9 October is unconstitutional. Europe is holding its breath to see if this goes through and how Spain reacts if it does.
Meanwhile, businesses continue to announce their departure from the Catalan region amid the ongoing political uncertainty. Many banks and chemical companies are moving their regional headquarters further south in Spain to ensure the continuation of their operations.