Spain suspends Catalan Parliament before it can declare independence

06 October, 2017, 00:41 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Spain suspends Catalan Parliament before it can declare independence

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a conservative who has taken a hard line, faces a huge challenge to see off Catalan independence without further unrest.

Spain's constitutional court has suspended a session of the Catalan parliament where separatists were planning to declare independence.

"The king has adopted the (national) government s position and policies which have been disastrous with regard to Catalonia".

The opposition Socialist bloc in the regional parliament, where separatist parties have a narrow majority of seats, had called for Monday's session to be blocked.

Spain, which declared Sunday's referendum illegal and invalid, is bitterly opposed to any independence move.

"It is the responsibility of the legitimate powers of the state to ensure constitutional order and the normal functioning of our institutions, the validity of the state of law and self-government in Catalonia", Felipe said in a speech Wednesday.

"If you dare to use the council meeting to talk about peace or democracy without standing clearly for those values in Catalonia then the people of Europe - the people of the world - will rightly consider you to be nothing more than a shower of hypocrites". Parliamentary speaker Carme Forcadell said on Twitter that Puigdemont will explain the referendum result and its consequences at a session starting at 10 a.m.

Madrid has the power to suspend the semi-autonomous status that Catalonia now enjoys under Spain's system of regional governments. Spain, which is emerging from a deep economic crisis, would lose one of its most economically developed regions and one that represents roughly 20 percent of the nation's GDP.

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Puigdemont on Wednesday said he was disappointed by the king's intervention.

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans rallied in fury on Tuesday during a general strike over the police violence during the referendum.

Puigdemont said he favored mediation to find a way out of the crisis but that Spain's central government had rejected this.

In other developments, Spain's Caixabank is said to be considering moving its legal base outside Catalonia, according to a source speaking to the Reuters news agency.

The force has been accused of failing to rein in pro-independence protesters during disturbances in Barcelona last month.

More than 2 million Catalans voted to break off from Spain on October 1, in a referendum that was banned by the Constitutional Court and repressed violently by Spanish police. The Catalan government's representative in Brussels Amadeu Altafaj says that if the EU is not able to protect 7.5 million of its citizens from violence and repression, "it will fail not only to them but to the whole Union".

Spain has been thrown into turmoil in these past few days; brother turned against brother, state against country. Now residents are anxious that the escalating conflict between Spanish and Catalan authorities will split the town in two.

The vote was held without regular electoral lists or observers.

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