The Latest: Catalan leader's agenda still up in the air
Oct. 24, 2017
MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the independence bid by the Spanish region of Catalonia (all times local):
A highly anticipated appearance by the Catalan separatist leader at the national Senate in Madrid remains up in the air due to agenda changes.
Carles Puigdemont has a last chance this week to appeal to senators the central government's proposal to sack his entire Cabinet as part of extraordinary measures to derail plans to break away from Spain.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy himself could be attending the Thursday afternoon or Friday morning session in the Senate, providing a rare chance for a faceoff between the two leaders.
But Puigdemont is also set to appear in a separate meeting at the regional parliament, where many believe he could make an explicit declaration of independence in defiance of central authorities.
Speaking about the top chamber debate, Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull says that Puigdemont "has the will of attending but we'll see if it's compatible."
Catalonia's government is appealing plans by Spain's central authorities to directly run the troubled northeastern region. Officials want to take the legal battle to international courts.
Regional spokesman Jordi Turull says the appeals will be lodged in Spain's Constitutional and Supreme courts against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's decision to sack all members of the Catalan government and curtail powers of the regional parliament.
Spain's Senate is expected to approve Rajoy's plan on Friday, triggering previously untapped constitutional powers to act against regional leaders disobeying the country's top law.
"We are going to respond in a very solid way," Turull said at the end of the regional government's weekly cabinet meeting. "We will exhaust all internal ways in order to turn to the international justice if needed."
Caixabank, the third-largest bank in Spain that was until recently based in the region of Catalonia, says it suffered a "moderate" but temporary run on deposits due to the crisis over the region's independence bid.
Presenting the company's earnings for the first time in the city of Valencia, CEO Gonzalo Gortazar declined Tuesday to give details on the amount of deposits that were withdrawn but said it has "been reversed" and that the bank continued to grow.
Gortazar said the Oct. 6 transfer of its headquarters to Valencia was definitive. Local media reports quoted Gortazar as saying the bank does not currently plan to move any jobs out of Catalonia.
Caixabank, Catalonia's second bank, Sabadell, and more than a thousand other companies have moved their official base out of Catalonia to ensure they can continue operating under European Union laws should Catalonia press ahead with independence and be expelled from the bloc.
Spain's justice minister says Catalonia would have to do more than call regional elections if it wants to avoid the Spanish government stepping in and taking over its affairs.
Rafael Catala told Spanish National Radio on Tuesday that Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont first would have to clarify if he declared independence in an ambiguous speech he gave Oct. 10 following a banned referendum that he said gave him a mandate to secede.
Spain's Senate this week is studying a Spanish government request to take partial control of Catalonia, including sacking Puigdemont and his ministers, after the Catalan leader on two occasions failed to state whether he had declared independence.
Speculation has increased in recent days that Puigdemont may call regional elections in a bid to avoid intervention.