Madrid Resolute on Taking Control of Catalonia

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy speaks during the weekly cabinet control session at the parliament in Madrid, Spain, on October 25, 2017/Photo: AFP
Madrid Resolute on Taking Control of Catalonia

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says the “only possible” way to restore legality in Catalonia, which according to him has been liquidated by regional President Carles Puigdemont, is for Madrid to take control of the autonomous region.

Speaking to the parliament on Wednesday, Rajoy said that the government’s plan to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which allows Spain to impose direct rule on Catalonia was “exceptional.”

He said he hoped the measure, which includes the curtailment of the Catalan parliament and sacking the government of Puigdemont, would not take too much time to implement.

Rajoy said his government would hold regional elections in Catalonia as soon as possible, but only once law and order was restored.

He has previously called on Spain’s Senate to trigger the Article 155.  The Senate is expected to approve the measures on Friday.

Catalonia has so far been defiant and threatened to unilaterally declare independence if Madrid started the process of suspending the region’s autonomy.

The wealthy region held a banned referendum on secession on October 1. Local officials claimed that 90 percent of the voters in the referendum had backed secession, but the turnout had been put at only 43 percent.

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