King Felipe emphasised importance of respecting diversity and common good on Sunday night. After winning a majority in parliament King Felipe calls independence parties to renounce claims of "secession".

Spain's King Felipe VI delivers his traditional Christmas address at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, Spain, December 23, 2017 in this photo released December 24, 2017.
Spain's King Felipe VI delivers his traditional Christmas address at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, Spain, December 23, 2017 in this photo released December 24, 2017. (Reuters)

King Felipe used his traditional Christmas Eve address Sunday night to call on Catalonia's newly elected parliament to renounce further moves toward secession from Spain.

"The way forward cannot once again lead to confrontation or exclusion that, as we now know, only generates discord, uncertainty, anguish," the Spanish monarch said in a televised speech.

The King gave the address four days after regional parliamentary elections resulted in separatist parties being voted back into power. Spain's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, had dissolved the previous parliament after it voted in October to declare Catalonia an independent republic, but saw his hopes dashed when separatists once again won a majority of the seats.

Felipe said that  "2017 for Spain has been, without a doubt, a difficult year for our commonwealth, a year marked, above all, by the situation in Catalonia".

"(Catalonia's) leaders must face the problems that affect all Catalans, respecting their diversity and thinking responsibly in the common good" he added. 

The King's last televised address was on October 3, two days after Catalonia's regional government disobeyed a court injunction and held a referendum on secession. The King harshly criticised the Catalan government as disloyal. His last speech received widespread condemnation for its aggressive tone. 

This time around his tone was more conciliatory, when he recognised that while Spain had grown into a fully integrated member of the European Union, "not everything was a success" in recent decades.

He insisted on recovering the "harmonious coexistence at the heart of Catalan society, in all its diversity, so that ideas don't divide or separate families and friends."

The King did not congratulate the independence parties on their electoral success and failed to acknowledge the widespread police brutality meted out by Spanish police in the Catalan province.  

Source: AP