This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 8 °C Friday 18 October, 2019
Advertisement

Spain to suspend Catalonia's autonomy unless leader abandons independence push

If Catalonia does not provide a satisfactory response by 8am tomorrow, direct rule could be imposed.

Image: Boivin Samuel via ABACA

SPAIN WILL SEEK to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy unless the region’s leader abandons his push for independence, the country’s deputy prime minister has said, 24 hours before Madrid’s deadline.

If separatist leader Carles Puigdemont does not provide a satisfactory response by 8am tomorrow, Puigdemont will “provoke the application of article 155 of the constitution”, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told parliament.

This provision of the constitution – which has never been used before – would open the way for Madrid to impose direct rule over the semi-autonomous region.

Triggering it could represent a drastic escalation of Spain’s worst political crisis in decades which was sparked when Catalonia held a banned independence referendum on 1 October.

Puigdemont declared independence following the poll which he says resulted in a 90% yes vote, though turnout was only 43% as many supporters of Spanish unity stayed away in a region that is deeply divided on the issue.

But the Catalan leader said he was “suspending” independence to allow time for talks with the government – a prospect Madrid has rejected, leaving the country in limbo.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has given Puigdemont until tomorrow to come up with a definitive answer on the independence question or face the consequences.

“All I ask of Mr Puigdemont is that he acts with good sense,” Rajoy told parliament today.

The premier would need Senate approval to trigger article 155, but his conservative Popular Party has a majority there.

The move could ultimately allow Madrid to suspend the regional government and eventually trigger new elections for Catalonia, but such a move risks inflaming tensions in the region even further.

 © – AFP 2017 

Read: Pictures: Tens of thousands protest through streets of Barcelona

More: Spain gives Catalonia deadline of 9am Thursday to make up mind on independence

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (23)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel