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José María Aznar, Spanish prime minister from 1996 to 2004, has said that "secessionism has destroyed the pact of unity" and, as such, rejects reform to the Constitution. "The supposed reform cannot be the payment in instalments of what the independence movement now wants."

Aznar, now president of the FAES think tank (Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies), said that Spain finds itself at "a critical moment". His comments came during his speech to FAES' Ideas forum, the same day that the Spanish government announced it is going to enact article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to suspend Catalonia's autonomy.

For Aznar, the Catalan government has ignored the law with their independence "road map" but, at the same time, he criticises the government of his successors Mariano Rajoy for their passivity towards the conflict. "The secessionists understand silences as weakness", he said, "Spain is going through a critical time and nobody can abdicate their responsibility".

"We've seen how Catalan secessionism has crossed all the red lines", said the former prime minister using his sternest tone in a speech in which he repeatedly called for the law, democracy and the Constitution to be respected.

On this, he pointed to an alleged deception by the independent movement. "They've instilled in too many minds the idea that there can be a prayed for, free independence, welcomed by the world", he claimed when, in his opinion, the reality is the opposite. According to Aznar, there is in Catalonia today a "fractured society, internationally discredited, a political conflict and political abandonment".

155, now

It's not the first time that Aznar has sent direct messages to the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. In fact, on 5th October, Rajoy's predecessor-but-one published a statement calling on the government to apply article 155. In that text, the president of FAES demanded Rajoy to act without delay with "all the constitutional tools" or, otherwise, to call elections.