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Oct 24, 4:30 AM EDT

Spain says calling elections not enough to halt measures

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Spain says calling elections not enough to halt measures

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MADRID (AP) -- Spain's justice minister says Catalonia would have to do more than call regional elections if it wants to avoid the Spanish government stepping in and taking over its affairs.

Rafael Catala told Spanish National Radio on Tuesday that Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont first would have to clarify if he declared independence in an ambiguous speech he gave Oct. 10 following a banned referendum that he said gave him a mandate to secede.

Spain's Senate this week is studying a Spanish government request to take partial control of Catalonia, including sacking Puigdemont and his ministers, after the Catalan leader on two occasions failed to state whether he had declared independence.

Speculation has increased in recent days that Puigdemont may call regional elections in a bid to avoid intervention.

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