Sunday, 22 October 2017

Crisis in Catalonia - 10/21/2017

Crisis in Catalonia

"IT'S A COUP" BY MADRID, Head of Catalan Parliament

Huge protests erupt against transfer of power from Barcelona to Madrid

Via Facebook


The head of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, has denounced Madrid’s decision to transfer the powers from the regional authorities to the central government as a “coup” as hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Barcelona in protest.

Earlier, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government wants to dissolve the Catalan parliament and call a snap election to restore order in the region. He also said that the powers of the Catalan government would be temporarily transferred to Madrid, adding that the relevant proposal was already sent to the Senate for approval.

Madrid’s decision provoked a wave of outrage in the secessionist region as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of the regional capital, Barcelona, to voice their discontent with the central government’s move, and imprisonment of their two leaders Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has slammed Madrid’s decision to impose direct rule on Barcelona as "the worst attack against the institutions and the people of Catalonia since the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco."

Puigdemont announced that he had asked the regional parliament to hold a debate on the measures taken by Madrid and added that the people of Catalonia would never accept such a decision by the central Spanish government.


"I ask the parliament to meet in a plenary session during which we, the representatives of the citizens' sovereignty, will be able to decide over this attempt to liquidate our government and our democracy and act in consequence," Puigdemont said in a televised speech.

Catalan leader: Madrid’s steps toward direct rule are 'worst attacks' since Franco’s dictatorship

RT,
21 October, 2017

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has slammed Madrid’s decision to impose direct rule on Barcelona as "the worst attack against the institutions and the people of Catalonia since the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco."

Puigdemont announced that he had asked the regional parliament to hold a debate on the measures taken by Madrid and added that the people of Catalonia would never accept such a decision by the central Spanish government.

"I ask the parliament to meet in a plenary session during which we, the representatives of the citizens' sovereignty, will be able to decide over this attempt to liquidate our government and our democracy and act in consequence," Puigdemont said in a televised speech.

Earlier, the head of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, said that the Catalan authorities were not going to take “a step back” in their pursuit of independence and were ready to defend Catalan sovereignty “now more than ever.”

She also accused the central government of carrying out “an authoritarian coup within the EU” and sharply criticized Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for what she called “great political irresponsibility.”

Earlier, Rajoy said his government wants to dissolve the Catalan parliament and call a snap election to restore order in the region. He also said that the powers of the Catalan government would be temporarily transferred to Madrid, adding that the relevant proposal was already sent to the Senate for approval.

The snap election will take place in six months, the Prime Minister said. The measures taken by Madrid are expected to be approved now by Spain's Upper House (the Senate) on October 27.

Madrid’s decision provoked a wave of outrage in the secessionist region as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of the regional capital, Barcelona, to voice their discontent with the central government’s move.

Catalan politicians also slammed Madrid’s move. The former head of the regional government, Artur Mas, called the central government’s actions “political myopia” while Marta Pascal, a Catalonian MP from Puigdemont’s Catalan European Democratic Party denounced them as “barbarity” and a “shame to democracy.”

Puigdemont had earlier threatened to call a vote in the regional parliament for an open declaration of independence from Spain.

Spain Activates "Nuclear Option": Will Seize Control Of Catalan Government, Force New Elections



21 October, 2017

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked lawmakers to grant him unprecedented powers to force leaders of the Catalonia region to cease their independence push, a dramatic escalation in the confrontation between Spain and the separatist region,which the WSJ - and virtually everyone else - has said will be a major test for Spanish democracy.  According to The Spain Report,this
is the first time in the modern democratic period that a central
government has suspended home rule in one of Spain's 17 regions.

Spain's PM Mariano Rajoy unveils plans to curb powers of Catalan government
The media could not be played.

Rajoy announced that his central government would use Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to remove the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, and sack the entire Catalan regional government as part of a barrage of actions, and force new elections on the region within six months. Summoning the sweeping powers of Article 155, Rajoy said Saturday, was a last resort. 

Puigdemont and his regional administration will be removed from office once the Spanish Senate approves the government’s plan as soon as this week and Spanish government ministers will take over the management of the Catalan administration, Rajoy saidaccording to Bloomberg. The responsibilities of the Catalan government will be administered in the interim period by central government ministries. Furthermore, the Catalan Parliament will not be allowed to present a new candidate for First Minister, to prevent Puigdemont from being reappointed.

Rajoy said "This is not a suspension of home rule but the dismissal of those who lead the regional government". The Spanish Senate will be in charge of controlling the process. As a result, Rajoy said Spain’s central government would temporarily control Catalonia’s regional ministries until new elections are called. The prime minister said he is seeking to convene regional elections within six months.

"The First Minister of the Catalan government was invited to parliament and he did not accept", said Mr. Rajoy, in a long press conference following an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Saturday, adding that Catalan leaders had tried to "impose" their will on the central government.
We are going to work to return to normality,” Rajoy said, as car horns sounded in downtown Madrid. “We are going to work so that all Catalans can feel united and participate in a common project in Europe and the world that has been know for centuries as Spain.”
Rajoy also said that “the economic recovery is under an obvious threat because of Catalonia,” during the Madrid press conference, and said that “this is about peoples lives, jobs, salaries" as "Companies are fleeing” and "data on tourism is also worrisome, the tensions are deterring visitors.”
The "most anti-democratic part" of the past few weeks was "what happened in the Catalan Parliament on September 6 and 7". "Dialogue is a lovely word", said the PM, but "Dialogue does not mean the others have to accept your demands". "Dialogue outside of the law is deeply undemocratic".
Rajoy said there were four aims of applying Article 155 in Catalonia:
  • to return to the rule of law,
  • to get back to normality and "coexistence",
  • to continue with the economic recovery, and
  • to hold elections in a situation of normality.
He said the six-month period before elections was the maximum period of time he would like to see pass before a new vote. The PM also said the Article 155 can now only be stopped "if the Senate does not approve it", which however won't happen as the governing Popular Party holds an absolute majority in the Spanish Senate.
Rajoy thanked two opposition parties, the Socialists and Ciudadanos, for their support for the measures, and said that Saturday's announced measures had been hammered out in recent days with leaders from two of the main oppositions parties, a sign of the widespread political support for the prime minister’s bid to halt Catalan authorities’ accelerating steps to secede from Spain.
As Bloomberg notes, the move may be "a watershed moment for Spain and its 1.1 trillion euro ($1.3 trillion) economy, which counts on Catalonia for a fifth of its output." Hundreds of companies have already set up headquarters elsewhere in the country to avoid a legal limbo that emerged after Catalan leaders on Oct. 10 claimed the right to an independent republic.
And now that Spain has ended the game of cat and mouse, and effectively pulled the plug on Catalan independence, with the central government’s measure due to come into force within days Catalan leaders are due to meet Monday to discuss whether to push ahead with a unilateral declaration of independence. With Madrid having taken the first step, Puigdemont now has the liberty of playing the "oppression" card, even if Spain explicitly stated it is not suspending Catalan autonomy, so the semantical war of words will continue, although for the separatist movement the time has now come to either officially declare independence or end the process.
The question is what happens should the Catalan leaders follow through and declare Catalonia is independent, forcing retaliation, perhaps violent, from Spain. The answer will be unveiled shortly: the Catalan President will make a statement at 9pm according to a spokesman, and Puigdemont also attend a demonstration in downtown Barcelona at 5 p.m.


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