Catalan Premier lashes Spanish King over intervention
By Alasdair Fortheringham, of The Independent
CATALAN Premier Carles Puigdemont has firmly rebuked King Felipe of Spain for "ignoring the millions of Catalans who don't think like him”, following the royal's thundering criticisms of the region's pro-independence movement.
In a prime-time television speech, seemingly designed to mirror King Felipe's address to the Spanish nation by scheduling it exactly 24 hours afterwards, Mr Puigdemont argued the monarch had abandoned his traditionally neutral stance in politics.
Instead, he claimed, the King was following the anti-Catalan nationalist policies of Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy.
King Felipe's speech strongly accused the nationalists of undermining the Spanish constitution and intentionally breaking the law in their latest independence bid.
Mr Puigdemont criticised the King for echoing the government's views and for failing to refer to the hundreds of injured during heavy-handed police actions against a illegal pro- independence referendum in Catalonia over the weekend.
"This isn't the right way,” Mr Puigdemont, standing next to a Catalan flag.
"With this attitude you have disappointed many Catalans who held you in esteem. The constitution gives you a role as a moderator which you have failed to use.”
With Spain's worst constitutional crisis in decades deepening, for the King to comment directly on a political event in or outside the country is almost unprecedented.