By Steven Martin Kensington and Ken Menderson
The Catalan regional Parliament has voted to declare its independence from Spain, while the Spanish Parliament has approved Madrid to impose direct rule over said region.
This is following Spain’s dismissal of Catalonia’s president , cabinet, and Parliament on Friday soon after lawmakers in the region defied Madrid and began to vote for their independence. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called new elections and fired the Catalan Police Chief stating that these moves were necessary to restore order after the occurrence of a political crisis that has had the country gripped for months.
“In this moment, we need to be serene and careful, but we also need to have confidence that the state has the tools, backed by the law and reason, [to] peacefully and reasonably go back to legality and take away threats to democracy,” – Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Rajoy spoke only hours after the Catalonia Parliament voted by 70 to 10 to “form the Catalan Republic as an independent and sovereign state.”
So, why did the Prime Minister have such a problem with the declaration?
Other countries such as the US, UK, Germany and France have all been urging and pushing the notion of Spanish Unity. European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU “doesn’t need any more cracks, more splits.”
“The UK does not and will not recognize the unilateral declaration of independence made by the Catalan regional parliament,” the Number 10 spokesman said in a statement.”
With all of these outside voices all saying that a drastic move like this isn’t optimal, the Spanish Prime Minister has taken certain actions to at least restore order to Catalonia.
Madrid used its new emergency powers, under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, to dissolve Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, his cabinet and the entire Catalan Parliament.
The deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, has been temporarily appointed to run the region.
Catalonia’s local police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra was taken over by the Spanish Ministry of Interior. The forces local Police Chief Josep Lluis Trapero, was also dismissed and replaced by his deputy Ferran López.
What does this mean for the future of Catalonia and the EU?
While Madrid has approved direct rule of Catalonia is remains unclear how quickly Spain can reassert its control over Catalonia.
Even though Catalonia separating from Spain would affect the EU, the EU, all of its member states and the US has expressed that this crisis is an internal matter of Spain.
If Catalonia’s declaration of its independence proves one thing it is that other countries/regions that declare their independence inspire others. Great Britain began the crescendo effect with their exit from the EU back in June of 2016. Catalonia is known as the largest region of Spain and their independence is undoubtedly going to effect other regions or countries desire to declare their independence from their respective countries or unions.
As Goldfire Media reported earlier this month, domestic tensions started rising in Spain on October 1, when secessionists held a referendum to vote whether Catalonia should become independent from Spain or not. The day after Catalan leaders had passed a declaration of independence for the region, Spain formally took direct control of Catalonia on the 29th, dismissing the government of Catalonia. The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, even went as far as to dissolve the regional parliament and calling for a new regional election on December 21.
Charles Puigdemont, the Catalan leader, said “only the regional parliament can elect or dismiss the Catalan government,” and he vowed to “continue working to build a free country.” He also called for “democratic opposition” to the application of Article 155, which gives Madrid direct control over matters in Catalonia. After Spanish authorities took over Catalonia, Puigdemont and 12 other Catalan Cabinet members are no longer paid. Spanish prosecutors also said that they could face rebellion charges as early as Monday.