October 28, 2017 | By Parmjeet Singh
Catalonia/Spain: The Catalan parliament on Friday voted to declare independence from Spain, prompting celebrations in Barcelona and a strong response from the central government in Madrid, Spain.
Within an hour, the Spanish Senate authorised Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government to impose direct rule over Catalonia.
The crisis began when Catalans voted to secede from Spain in a referendum that was met with police crackdown by Central government in Spain on October 1.
Mariano Rajoy has announced to dismiss Catalonia’s regional government, including its leader, Carles Puigdemont.
Speaking after a crisis cabinet meeting to decide Madrid’s measures, Mariano Rajoy declared the dissolution of the Catalan parliament and called a snap election in the region on December 21.
Spain’s prosecutor’s office, meanwhile, said it would file rebellion charges against Puigdemont. A court will have to decide to accept the charges.
There are many obstacles in Madrid’s way, given that Catalans are fiercely protective of the region’s high degree of autonomy, such as direct control over education, healthcare and the police.
Meanwhile, international leaders and representatives of various major world powers have refused to recognise the declaration of independence by Catalonia.
Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said the Catalan parliament’s declaration of independence had changed nothing, adding that the EU will only deal with the central government in Madrid.
The EU has insisted that the standoff in Catalonia is an internal matter for Spain and backed Madrid’s position that the October 1 referendum was illegal.
Madrid’s allies in the EU and the US meanwhile rallied behind Rajoy, voicing alarm over the latest constitutional crisis, and expressing support for a united Spain.
“The (German) federal government does not recognise such an independence declaration,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Related Topics: Catalonia Independence Referendum