AFP Foreign

No independence for Catalonia: Spanish PM

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 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.

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