Key political ally urges Catalan leader to proclaim republic

A pro independence supporter holds up an ''estelada'' or Catalan pro independence flag during a rally in support of the Catalonia's secession from Spain, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Spain's celebrates its national day amid one of the country's biggest crises ever as its powerful northeastern region of Catalonia threatens independence.(AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

Alvaro Barrientos

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — A key political ally of the ruling pro-independence coalition in Catalonia has urged regional president Carles Puigdemont to push ahead with a declaration of independence from Spain.

Spain's government has threatened to activate unprecedented measures to take over Catalonia's self-government if secession plans go forward.

Central authorities have given Puigdemont a Monday deadline to clarify whether he declared independence during an ambiguous parliamentary speech this week. He had said that Catalonia was proceeding with a declaration of independence, but proposed freezing its implementation for a few weeks to allow for dialogue and mediation with Spain's government.

The far-left separatist Catalan party CUP said in a letter dated Friday that Puigdemont should ignore the Spanish government's warning, lift the suspension and definitively proclaim independence.

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