The Spanish Prime Minister has dismissed the latest proposal from separatist parties as an "act of provocation." His words come as many in Catalonia have made a stronger push for independence.
Hours after two separatist parties introduced a bill that would open the door to Catalonian independence, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the government would "use all the political and legal means" necessary to block the bill.
In a television address on Tuesday, the conservative politician dismissed the proposal as an "act of provocation," saying it went against the constitution and the opinions of the majority of Catalans.
The bill, filed by the "Together for Yes" pro-independence alliance, called for a secession referendum, although no date was set for the vote.
Rajoy not messing around
In unflinching language, Rajoy sought to assure his audience that those who aimed to separate the region from the rest of Spain would not succeed.
"I want to send a message of reassurance to the people of Spain, and especially to the Catalans," the prime minister said. "As long as I'm in charge of the government, Spain will continue to be a nation of free and equal citizens."
Pro-independence groups in Catalonia have gained traction in recent months, with separatist parties winning a majority of the seats in the regional parliament in September.
Catalonia, a region with its own language and one of the country's strongest economies, has a fraught relationship with the central government, having been suppressed under the rule of late dictator Francisco Franco.
blc/ng (AP, AFP)