Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy paid his first visit to Catalonia following an independence referendum last month, denouncing the poll as having “failed resoundingly”.
The unofficial referendum, which saw over 80% vote for an independent Catalan state, was slammed by Rajoy as “a sham” and “a farce” in his address to party supporters in Barcelona.
Speaking at a rally this weekend Rajoy went on to criticise the regional Catalan government, stating it had carried out an “international propaganda operation”, which had fallen apart “noiselessly and without clatter”. He also attacked a recently announced 18-month plan for secession, labelling it as a “trip to nowhere.”
Rajoy also slammed Catalan President Artur Mas, adding, “Never in history has a leader wasted so much time, generated so much confusion and provoked such instability.”
"I will not allow challenges to the unity of Spain," stated Rajoy defiantly, as he was surrounded by cabinet ministers.
Responding to Rajoy's remarks, Catalonia’s vice president, Joana Ortega, said the vote was “an exemplary process of democracy and transparency,” calling on Madrid to heed the referendum.
Ortega, alongside Mas and Catalan's education minister, Irene Rigau, faces criminal charges from Spanish prosecutors for the November 9th vote.
See our earlier posts:
Catalan parties to unite in 18 month plan for independence (26 November 2014)
Over 80% vote for Catalan independence (10 Nov 2014)