Rajoy accuses Catalan leader of shattering Spain’s image

Premier Artur Mas claims PP government using “dirty tricks” against him in regional election campaign

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Sunday accused Catalan premier Artur Mas of wanting to destabilize the country with his independence drive for the region.

As the Catalan regional election campaign enters its final week, Rajoy said that Mas and the Catalan nationalist CiU bloc are causing “enormous damage” to Spain’s international image, which could also jeopardize the domestic economic recovery. At a Popular Party (PP) rally in Girona, Rajoy said that Mas’ call for early elections in the region had only served “to cause political divisions and to postpone the work needed to resolve the crisis.”

“It is easier to dissolve parliament because it is very difficult to fight the crisis,” the prime minister said, referring to Mas’ decision to hold the early race after thousands came out in support of independence during Catalonia Day on September 11.

For his part, Mas accused the central PP government of “dirty tricks” after a draft police investigative report was cited in a newspaper accusing him of holding a Swiss bank account.

“I hope I am the last premier of Catalonia that the Spanish state, in its own dirty way, tries to destroy because the next premier won’t have to depend on Spain," he told a rally of supporters in Barcelona.

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