Spain will curb the powers of the parliament of Catalonia

The measures must now be approved by Spain’s upper house, the Senate, where a vote is scheduled for October 27
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy heads a special cabinet meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain – Photo: Juan Carlos Hidalgo
21/10/2017
11:50
Madrid
-A +A

The Spanish Government has secured opposition support for dissolving Catalonia’s parliament and holding new elections there in January in its bid to check the regional government’s push for independence.

On Friday, the Socialists, the main opposition, said that they would back special measures to impose central rule on the region to hinder the secessionist-minded Catalan government and end a crisis that has unsettled the euro and hurt confidence in the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy, thus Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who wants opposition support to be able to present a united front in the crisis, called an emergency cabinet meeting to pave the way for Madrid establishing central control in the region.

Today, Rajoy said he would curb the powers of the parliament of Catalonia, sack its government and call an election within six months in a bid to thwart a drive by the autonomous region to break away from Spain.

On Twitter, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wrote in Spanish: “Mr. Puigdemont did not attend the requirement and the Government should apply Article 155.”

Rajoy said his government had taken this unprecedented decision to restore the law, make sure regional institutions were neutral, and to guarantee public services and economic activity as well as preserve the civil rights of all citizens.

Direct rule will give Madrid full control of the region’s finances, police, and public media and curb the powers of the regional parliament after it allowed an independence referendum that Madrid declared illegal.

Rajoy said he did not intend to use the special powers for more than six months and he would call a regional election as soon as the situation was back to normal.

“Our objective is to restore the law and a normal cohabitation among citizens, which has deteriorated a lot, continue with the economic recovery, which is under threat today in Catalonia, and celebrate elections in a situation of normality,” Rajoy said.

The measures must now be approved by Spain’s upper house, the Senate, where a vote is scheduled for October 27.

This is the first time in Spain’s four decades of democracy that Madrid has invoked the constitution to effectively sack a regional government and call new elections.

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