MADRID: There will be no independence for Catalonia, nor a referendum on the question if the socialists are returned to power, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told supporters on Sunday.
“No is no,” Sanchez told a Socialist Party meeting at Zaragoza, in the northeast region of Aragon, ahead of the April 28 legislative elections.
“If there is a socialist government, there will be no independence in Catalonia, there will be no referendum for independence and the Spanish constitution in Catalonia will not be violated — that will not happen,” he added.
Sanchez’s speech came after the socialists’ leader in Catalonia, Miquel Iceta, said in a newspaper interview that 65 percent of Catalans wanted independence and that “democracy must find a mechanism to enable it”.
Iceta’s remarks, to a Basque newspaper in late March, have been heavily criticised by the rightwing opposition People’s Party and led to allegations that Sanchez is preparing a deal with Catalonia’s separatists.
Twelve Catalan leaders are on trial in Madrid over an independence referendum that was held on October 1, 2017 despite a court ban, as well as a short-lived declaration of independence that followed.
Many separatists argue that their leaders were jailed for political reasons and will not have a fair trial.
Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2019