TENSION IN CATALONIA

Rajoy insinuates that Catalan leader tried to blackmail him

Artur Mas said to have delivered PM “take it or leave it” ultimatum on greater sovereignty for the region

Mariano Rajoy suggested in the Senate on Tuesday that Catalan premier Arturo Mas tried to blackmail him, saying that if he did not get a revenue-sharing pact with Madrid, then the prime minister would have to suffer the consequences.

Rajoy rejected Mas' request for the pact and the Catalan leader then demanded "structures of state" for Spain's richest region. The Catalan parliament later passed a motion calling for a referendum on independence.

"Mas didn't ask me for a referendum, because I can't authorize that, it has to be Congress," Rajoy said in response to a question in the Senate. "I also have problems, but you have to accept responsibility and not look for the enemy outside."

Rajoy said he had called for dialogue. "As I said to Mas, you have to speak and listen, and not tell the head of government that you take it or you leave it or accept the consequences," he said. "Democracy isn't like that."

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