Spain set to impose direct rule on Catalonia

Pauline Gross
October 12, 2017

Catalonia's separatist camp has grown in recent years, strengthened by Spain's recent economic crisis and by Madrid's rejection of attempts to increase self-rule in the region. And if that is the case?

Failing this, Article 155 of the constitution, which allows the central government to suspend a region's political autonomy and rule it directly, would be triggered.

Thus Catalonia finds itself in constitutional limbo, as the Spanish Government announces it has requested clarification on whether or not the Catalan Government has actually declared independence.

The poll was marred by violence after Spanish police acting on court orders attempted to stop the vote by raiding polling stations, seizing ballot boxes, beating voters and firing rubber bullets at crowds.

The Catalan government said 90 percent of those who voted backed independence but turnout was only 43 percent as many opponents of independence stayed at home.

For some of his supporters, it was close enough to count.

What have both sides said?

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Lauren Frayer, reporting for NPR from Barcelona, spoke to graduate student Eugenio Juliá, who "is paying close attention because he's anxious the terms of his grad school scholarship might change if Catalonia leaves Spain and the European Union", Frayer says. "I didn't know what he was saying".

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to do everything in his power to prevent Catalan independence following a banned referendum in the region, which remains deeply divided over splitting from Spain.

I do not want to declare independence, I want to make it happen.", CNN reports.He said he felt obliged to open a window for dialogue in response to worldwide demands - adding that a formal offer of dialogue like the one he had made to Madrid "needs a response in days."Puigdemont insisted the government in Madrid had no reason to apply Article 155 of the constitution to Catalonia and that to do so would be a mistake.He also rejected any suggestion that he should be arrested for his actions, saying he was not a criminal".

Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, Catalan President Puigdemont explained that he had taken this position in order to comply with global requests for peaceful dialogue.

The government stuck to its stance that it would not accept mediation or any talks until Catalan leaders drop their independence bid.

But he proposed that the regional parliament of the wealthy region should suspend the effects of the declaration to commence a dialogue and help reduce tension, in what is Spain's worst political crisis in decades.

If Puigdemont was to confirm he did declare independence, he would be given an additional three days to rectify.

Other reports by GizPress

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