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Spain imposes direct rule after Catalan parliament declares independence

Catalan President Puigdemont and his government will be dismissed with the application of article 155 of the Spanish constitution. An uncertain scenario opens after the hopes for dialogue evaporate.

AUTHOR Evangelical Focus MADRID / BARCELONA 27 OCTOBER 2017 15:36 h GMT+1
President of the Catalan government Carles Puigdemont votes for independence in Barcelona's Parliament of Catalonia. / TV3

Spain and Catalonia walk towards an unprecedented scenario.



On Friday 27 October, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy received the support of the Senate (in Madrid) to apply article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which allows to impose direct rule over Catalonia, taking control over the Catalan government and all the regional institutions.



The vote received 217 “yes” votes and 47 “no”.



In practice, the Spanish government is empowered to take “all measures necessary to compel” a region in case of a crisis.



 



Mariano Rajoy defends article 155 in the Spanish Senate. / RTVE



Addressing the Senate, Rajoy accused the Catalan government of fracturing society and dividing families. 



“There is no alternative” beyond obeying the law, the Prime Minister said. “There is an evident violation of the laws and democracy”, and this “has consequences”. Rajoy also definitely closed the door to dialogue with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.



Spain’s opposition party PSOE (centre-left) said: “There is no democracy without Constitution”. Therefore, “we support the government” in the steps ahead.



 



PUIGDEMONT WILL BE DISMISSED



The Spanish government will dismiss Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, his Vice-president, as well as all regional ministers in the next hours.



New regional elections will also be called in the region. This will probably happen on Saturday 28 October.



The Spanish government is now also able to control the Catalan public television and radio. New heads of departments will be named in many areas.



 



CATALAN PARLIAMENT VOTES FOR “SOVEREIGN STATE”



Meanwhile, in Barcelona, the Catalan parliament voted to “apply the outcome” of the unauthorised vote of 1 October.



The resolution was passed with 70 “yes” votes and 10  “no”.



Opposition parties for the unity of Spain such as Ciutadans, PP and PSC abandoned the parliament and did not take part in the vote as a protest. Puigdemont’s majority includes parties PDeCat and ERC, with the support of CUP.



The resolution speaks of a new “Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state”. Catalonia will “open a constitutional process” to create a new basic law, the resolution reads.



Spokesperson Marta Rovira said “difficult times are coming, but we have no alternative”. She added: “We want to have an adult and civilised conversation”. 



More than 200 mayors of towns and cities in the region followed the plenary session in a building nearby. Thousands joined demonstrations in the centre of Barcelona to support the unilateral independence declaration. The two leaders of the social pro-independence movements (Catalan National Assembly and Omnium), Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart were jailed on 16 October.



 



CHANGES AND LAST-HOUR NEGOTIATIONS



For hours on Thursday 26 October, it was thought that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont would call a new election to the Catalan regional parliament. It was thought this step could de-escalate the conflict.



 



Pro-independence demonstrators waited outside the Catalan parliament on Friday, 27 October. / ARA



Nevertheless, his announcement on Thursday was postponed two times, and Puigdemont finally cancelled these plans.



Analysists underlined the efforts of the President of the Basque Country, Íñigo Urkullu, who has tried to mediate in the last hours between the Spanish and the Catalan government. His calls to “dialogue” to find a negotiated solution had no fruit.



 



CHRISTIANS ANALYSE THE CONFLICT



Evangelical Christians have called to be examples of reconciliation, peace and dialogue in the last weeks: “In our love for the people of our country and the hope we have in Christ, we call every Christian to seek God in prayer so that he brings good relationships and the peace of God and with God that Christ came to bring is restored”.



 In an Editorial article, Evangelical Focus expressed the grave socio-political conflict in Spain and Catalonia is an “opportunity for Christians in Spain and the rest of Europe, to be an example of unity, beyond political positions”.  



The European Evangelical Alliance’s Brussels representative Arie de Pater shared his views on the situation in Catalonia and author Jeff Fountain analysed the Spanish-Catalan conflict as well.  Read more news about the conflict in Catalonia and Spain.


 

 


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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.