Barcelona chief backs Catalan leaders in clash with Spain

Nichole Vega
Октября 22, 2017

Mr Rajoy said he was concerned about the financial impact if Catalonia broke away, stressing the latest figures on the economy were "worrying".

Puigdemont says he has a mandate to declare independence after the referendum, which his administration says resulted in a 90 percent Yes vote.

Even moderate Catalans were aghast at the scope of the move, greeting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's announcement with banging pots and honking cars in the streets of Barcelona, the regional capital.

At the national level, Pablo Echenique, a secretary in the far-left Podemos party, vowed to work to oust Rajoy and his conservative Popular Party. Many anti-independence supporters boycotted the ballot and claimed it was not valid.

The Spanish government will announcing special measures on Saturday to impose direct rule on the wealthy region of Catalonia over its bid to breakaway.

As follows from article 155 of the Constitution, the measures for its application must be approved by the Senate.

Independence supporters in Barcelona have been gathering for a rally urging the release of two influential separatist activists, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, who are being held on sedition charges.

The Nationalist movement was, predictably, in uproar at their imminent loss of regional power and a major demonstration is planned this evening in Barcelona "in defence of rights and freedoms".

The spokeswoman says it only affected the court's website and no internal information was compromised.

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Rajoy has called an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday to pave the way for the unprecedented intervention.

The measures could include stripping some or all of the top Catalan officials of their authority and laying out a roadmap to an early regional election for as early as January.

The goal is 'the return to legality and the recovery of institutional normalcy, ' the prime minister said Friday. In a sign of the deeply entrenched divisions between Madrid and the restive region, he signalled to local politicians that they should press ahead with independence.

King's words can actually mean that he does not rule the possibility of triggering Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which would entitle the government to suspend the autonomous status of Catalan region.

That this article is applied, the government announced on 19 October after the Spanish head of government Mariano Rajoy received a reply from the Chairman of Generalitat Carles Pokdemon on "simple question" - was proclaimed the independence of Catalonia from Spain. "It is my wish to call an election as soon as normality is restored".

Opposition parties have agreed to support the prime minister in revoking Catalonia's autonomy as a way to thwart the independence drive.

It states that if a region's government "acts in a way that seriously threatens the general interest of Spain", Madrid can "take necessary measures to oblige it forcibly to comply".

The decision to press for the abolition of the Catalan leadership, impose direct rule and push for elections within six months followed a special cabinet meeting on Saturday morning, nearly three weeks after the controversial independence referendum took place.

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