LONDON, United Kingdom (Kurdistan 24) – As the fallout from the Catalonia independence referendum intensifies, the Spanish government has taken an increasingly hawkish stance.
Rejecting any dialogue with Catalan authorities, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy invoked Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution that curtailed Catalonian autonomy, labeling the move as the “only option.”
Such is the heated sociopolitical landscape over the Catalan vote held on Oct. 1 that Article 155, which the Senate may approve on Friday, has never been invoked before.
The Spanish government has insisted the Catalan government violated Spanish law and this article was necessary “to restore legality, boost the social co-existence that has been broken in Catalonia, and tackle the economic consequences that its decisions are provoking.”
Rajoy insisted the aim was not to suspend Catalan autonomy. However, article 155 allows the Spanish government to control key affairs of Catalonia, dissolve the local government, call new elections, and, most importantly for Madrid, put the brakes on the Catalan independence bid.
The Prime Minister deemed the government response as “exceptional” and expressed hope the measured would be brief.
“I am fulfilling my duty, and I am doing it in the face of a rejection of our laws, of our Constitution and of the millions of Catalan citizens who can see that their [regional] government has flouted the law,” Rajoy stated.
On Oct. 10, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont stated, in light of the referendum vote which saw 92 percent vote for secession from Spain, that the region had achieved the right to independence but stopped short of a formal declaration.
Puigdemont insisted on a course of dialogue with Madrid that Spain has continuously rejected.
The Catalan Parliament will convene on Oct. 26 to discuss their response to the article. Puigdemont may still declare independence at this session.
The Catalan leader was already under pressure to confirm if his speech on the Oct. 10 was a declaration of independence or not.
The contentious arrest of the presidents of Catalan Omnium Cultural and Catalan National Assembly added fuel to the fire, and any Catalan revolt will likely lead to a deeper crisis, especially if Madrid issues an arrest warrant for Puigdemont or takes a heavy-handed response in Catalonia.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany