Rajoy said he had “no alternative” in a speech given before the vote Friday, slamming the actions of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont. Puigdemont then declared independence but suspended it in almost the same breath while calling for talks with Madrid.
Should the Senate approve the Spanish government’s use of Article 155 of the constitution in a vote scheduled for later yesterday, Madrid’s first move would be to dismiss Generalitat of Catalonia President Carles Puigdemont and his regional ministers, Rajoy said.
“With this paper, you leave those Catalans who don’t follow you orphaned without a government”.
Catalonia’s regional parliament is also to hold a special session starting early Friday afternoon.
The Catalan government said that of the 43 percent of potential voters who took part, 90 percent were in favour of independence.
The IBEX 35, the index of Spain’s largest publicly-listed organisations, began low and dropped further after 70 Catalan officials voted for independence.
What happened in the Catalan parliament? Earlier today, two key Catalan separatist parties tabled a proposal to declare it an independent republic.
The motion passed in the parliament after a passionate debate from advocates and opponents of independence said Catalonia constituted an independent, sovereign and social democratic state.
Mr Puigdemont has called for supporters to “maintain the momentum” in a peaceful manner. “I hope the Spanish government favors force of argument, not argument of force”.
There were 214 votes in favour and 47 against. “We will need to keep calm”.
The evets of the next few days could cause tensions, already at a near breaking point, to spiral out of control, as Madrid seeks to impose its will on the region – possibly by firing the Barcelona government and placing regional police forces under its direct control.
How did we get here?
He already had postponed declaring a republic in the aftermath of the illegal referendum on October 1 that set up weeks of brinkmanship.
“Now, more than ever, the priority of all those who consider themselves friends and allies of Spain should be to encourage a process of dialogue to find a way forward that respects democracy and the rule of law”.
Roughly the size of Belgium, the semi-autonomous northeastern region accounts for about 16 percent of Spain’s population and a fifth of its economic output. More to it, Madrid says the Catalan authorities are infringing upon Spain’s national interest. The result of the vote was greeted with cheers within the Catalan legislature and the spontaneous singing of the Catalan anthem “El Segadors”.