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Catalonian Ex-Leader Vows Peaceful Resistance To Spain


Catalonia's fired leader, Carles Puigdemont, has called for "democratic opposition" to direct Spanish rule, and vowed to continue "working to build a free country."

Puigdemont made the call in a prerecorded TV address to Catalans broadcast on October 28, a day after Catalonian regional lawmakers declared independence, and the national parliament in Madrid approved unprecedented constitutional measures to halt the secessionist drive.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also dissolved the regional parliament and called new regional elections to be held on December 21.

In his televised statement, Puigdemont said only the regional parliament can elect or dismiss the Catalonian government.

"The best way we have to defend the achievements to date is the democratic opposition to the application of Article 155," Puigdemont said in reference to the constitutional clause that gave Madrid direct control of affairs in Catalonia.

Rajoy's office has refused to comment on Puigdemont's statement, saying only that his actions will be a judicial affair from now on and that the December 21 election would be the way "to return dignity to the Catalan institutions."

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria has been appointed to run Catalonia until the new regional election.

Polls suggest pro-independence parties would likely maintain their slim advantage in parliamentary seats after the polls but wouldn't get more than 50 percent of the vote.

Spanish prosecutors say top Catalonian officials could face rebellion charges as soon as October 30.

After Spain's central authorities made the takeover official early on October 28, Puigdemont and the 12 members of the Catalan cabinet are no longer paid.

Catalan separatists argue that a controversial victory in a banned October 1 referendum legitimizes them to split from Spain.

Catalonia had secured the ability to govern itself in many areas, including education, health, and policing, since democracy returned to Spain following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

With reporting by AP and the BBC
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