Spain's Senate on Friday authorized the government to apply constitutional measures to take control of the government of Catalonia. A majority of senators gave Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy the go-ahead through Article 155 of the constitution to apply unprecedented measures, including sacking Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet. It also authorized him to curtail Catalan parliamentary powers.
Catalonia’s political leaders intend to bring a legal challenge to prevent the Spanish government from removing them from office and taking over running the region to stop its push for independence, a spokesman has said.
Catalonia’s separatists weighed their options Sunday ahead of a week that will see Spain take the drastic step of sacking the region’s government as well as calling fresh elections to try and stop the country breaking up.
The Spanish government moved decisively Saturday to use a previously untapped constitutional power so it can take control of Catalonia and derail the independence movement led by separatist politicians in the prosperous industrial region.
In his second intervention in the secession crisis, Spain's King Felipe VI has said Catalonia “is and will remain” an essential part of the country. He told an awards ceremony in the northern city of Oviedo that the Catalan government was causing a rift and Spain would solve the problem through democratic institutions.
Spain is to hold a special Cabinet meeting at the weekend to activate measures to take control of Catalonia’s semi-autonomous powers after the region’s leader said he would formally declare independence if no talks were offered.
Spain’s deputy prime minister has said that Catalonia’s leader did not give an adequate response in his letter about the region’s independence and has until Thursday to comply with the country’s laws. Carles Puigdemont’s letter, issued two hours before a Monday deadline, did not clarify whether he in fact declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain. He called for talks with Spain’s government.
Catalonia’s leader faced mounting pressure on Friday from all sides, with hardliners in the separatist movement demanding he declare independence from Spain once and for all. Spain’s government and the European Union, on the other hand, want him to abandon the secession plans altogether.
Spain is preparing to celebrate its National Day, 12th October, amid a continuing political crisis sparked by Catalonia's disputed independence referendum. The public display of unity comes a day after PM Mariano Rajoy told parliament the country was facing the most serious threat to its 40-year-old democracy.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is facing growing pressure to drop plans to break from Spain ahead of a key address to the regional parliament. There has been speculation that he could announce a unilateral declaration of independence following a disputed referendum. France and Germany have both expressed support for a united Spain.