Spain's Mariano Rajoy urges return of 'democratic and free' Catalonia

The Supreme Court had summoned them to answer charges of rebellion after they enabled an October 27 independence declaration that prompted the Spanish government to dissolve the Catalan parliament and sack the regional administration

After Catalonia's Parliament voted October 27 in favor of declaring independence, Rajoy responded by firing top government officials, dissolving the Parliament and ordering the early election.

"We have to recover the sensible, practical, enterprising and dynamic Catalonia. that has contributed so much to the progress of Spain and Europe", Rajoy told members of his Popular Party in Barcelona.

Catalonia's regional government had gone ahead with an October 1 referendum on independence despite Spanish authorities deeming it illegal.

"They've provoked tensions and carried out a unilateral independence declaration which the majority do not want", she told a meeting of her Catalonia in Common party.

Rajoy defended his decision to temporarily take over running Catalonia under a section of the Constitution that allows central authorities to intervene in regions where officials act outside the law.

Polls show a tight race between Catalan separatists and politicians who want the region to remain a part of Spain.

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"Exceptional measures can only be taken when there is no other option, and we adopted them to stop the increasing attacks to peaceful coexistence", Rajoy said.

Earlier in the day, Rajoy called on companies not to move their headquarters out of the region, as hundreds have already done amid uncertainty over its future.

They will be protesting against about the region's leaders being arrested for illegally declaring independence from Spain.

A judge at the Supreme Court in Madrid on Thursday had ordered Carme Forcadell to be held on charges of "rebellion" - which carries a maximum jail term of 30 years - as Spain's worst political crisis in a generation rumbles on.

It has also caused concern in the European Union, which fears knock-on effects among its member states if Catalonia pursues a course toward secession and has backed Rajoy's government in its actions against the region.

On Saturday, 750,000 people marched in Barcelona to call for the release of separatist leaders from pre-trial detention. A regional election is set for December 21.

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