Two men, one wearing a Spanish flag, left, and the other wearing an estelada or independence flag, talk during the celebration of a holiday known as Dia de la Hispanidad or Spains National Day, in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Spains celebrates its national day amid one of the countrys biggest crises ever as its powerful northeastern region of Catalonia threatens independence. (Santi Palacios/Associated Press)
 October 15 at 7:03 AM
BARCELONA, Spain Catalonias president is facing a critical decision that could determine the course of the regions secessionist movement to break away from Spain.

The Spanish government has given Carles Puigdemont until Monday morning to clarify if he did or didnt actually declare independence earlier this week.

Puigdemont told Catalan lawmakers Tuesday that he had accepted a mandate for independence based on the results of a disputed referendum, but that he wanted parliament to delay its implementation for a few weeks to give one last chance to open negotiations with Spain.

If Puigdemont replies Yes to Madrid on Monday, then Spains government has given him until Thursday to back down or else Catalonias ample self-rule could be temporarily suspended.

But if Puigdemont replies No, he will likely face rebellion from hardliners inside the secessionist cam...