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Spain Catalonia: Foreign minister denies 'coup' by Madrid

October 22, 2017 4:37 pm

The Spanish Foreign Minister, Alfonso Dastis, has denied that his government’s move to reassert control over Catalonia amounts to a “coup”.

The speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, called measures announced by the government on Saturday a “de facto coup d’état”.

“If anyone has attempted a coup, it is the Catalan regional government,” Mr Dastis told the BBC.

Madrid acted after regional leaders refused to halt an independence drive.

The Catalan government, led by President Carles Puigdemont, points to the majority Yes vote in a referendum on independence it held on 1 October despite a ban by Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Of the 43% of Catalans said to have taken part, 90% voted in favour of independence, it said.

Unionist parties who won about 40% of the vote at the 2015 Catalan elections boycotted the ballot and many anti-independence supporters stayed away, arguing it was not valid.