THE Spanish government is considering a change to the country’s constitution to allow independence votes in future – seen as an attempt to defuse the Catalonia crisis.
Foreign minister Alfonso Dastis has offered the olive branch to supporters of the separatist movement in the region after independence was unilaterally declared by the Barcelona parliament.
The move prompted Madrid to take over, depose the regional government, and Spain’s constitutional court to rule the last month’s referendum was “illegal” and the breakaway “unconstitutional and void”.
Eight ex-leader of Catalonia have been detained and Spain has issued international arrest warrants for President Carles Puigdemont and four colleagues who are in Belgium and caught up in an extradition battle over charges of rebellion.
The central government’s response has triggered protests and demonstrations in Catalonia and Madrid is keen to prevent civil unrest.
Mr Dastis has outlined an investigation of the possibility of changes to the constitution. “We have created a committee in parliament to explore the possibility of amending the constitution to be able to accommodate better the aspirations of some of the Catalan people.
“We acknowledge there is a political situation that deserves to be looked at, but, in any case, it’s clear that the decision will be taken; will have to be taken by all Spaniards.”
The minister appeared to underline that changes could mean the possibility of a legal vote on Catalonian independence in future but it would involve the entire population of Spain.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called for a big turnout for the snap election in Catalonia on 21st December to allow Spain to move on from the crisis.