Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Catalonia independence: Spain make move towards direct rule

Spain's prime minister has informed Catalonia that it could impose direct rule on the region.

Rajoy said his government had seek to understand the regional government position on whether or not it had declared independence.

The action is the first step aimed at suspending Catalonia's autonomy under the constitution.

Catalan leaders on Tuesday signed a declaration of independence, however suspends its implementation to allow for negotiation.

Spain has been in turmoil since the separatist government held a disputed referendum in Catalonia on October 1, which was declared invalid by the country's Constitutional Court.

About 90% of voters support independence with 43% turnout, Catalan officials reports. Anti-independence voters largely boycotted the ballot...and there were reported cases of irregularities.

National police tried to distrupt the voting from taking place by causing violent scenes.

Rajoy, accused Catalan President Carles Puigdemont of having created "deliberate confusion" and said he wanted to restore "certainty".

"This call - ahead of any of the measures that the government may adopt under Article 155 of our constitution - seeks to offer citizens the clarity and security that a question of such importance requires," Mr Rajoy said.

"There is an urgent need to put an end to the situation that Catalonia is going through - to return it to safety, tranquillity and calm and to do that as quickly as possible."

The Prime Minister was speaking after holding an emergency cabinet session on Wednesday morning to deliberate on the government's next moves.

Rajoy while speaking later in parliament, said that Spain was facing the most serious threat to her 40-year-old democracy.

He accused the separatists of hatching an "anti-democratic plan foisting their will on all the people of Catalonia", and said the Spanish government had had no option but to restore order.

"It falls to the Catalan leader to restore constitutional normality," he told deputies, rejecting any suggestion of outside mediation in the dispute.

He added that he was willing to negotiate on the issue of regional autonomy and changes to the constitution - but this had to be within the framework of the law, BBC report.

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