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Spanish PM strongly rejects any demand for Catalonia independence

Spanish PM strongly rejects any demand for Catalonia independence
Sanchez's speech came after the Socialists' leader in Catalonia, Miquel Iceta, said in a newspaper interview that 65 per cent of Catalans wanted independence. Image Credit: Wikimedia

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 per cent 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.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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