Spain Acts After Catalonia's Declaration of Independence

By Mei Manuel, October 12, 2017 01:10 AM

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy(Twitter/ Mariano Rajoy Brey)

On Wednesday, Spain has officially announced their response regarding Catalonia's declaration of independence on Tuesday.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy made a public statement on Wednesday, demanding the regional government of Catalonia to clarify whether it is now "independent" after Catalan president Carles Puigdemont declared independence on Tuesday night. Rajoy's question is a major requirement for the prime minister to do before he can enact Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which would permit Madrid to suspend Catalonia's political autonomy and stop the declaration of independence. It is expected that once Catalonia's political autonomy is cut off, the prime minister will call for a snap election to change the current Catalan government.

In his televised address after a top level government meeting, Rajoy said, "The cabinet has agreed this morning to formally request the Catalan government to confirm whether it has declared the independence of Catalonia, regardless of the deliberate confusion created over its implementation."

Rajoy did not give a deadline for Catalonia's reply, adding "The answer from the Catalan president will determine future events, in the next few days."

Political analysts watching the issue commented that Catalan leaders are now facing a conundrum with Rajoy's declaration and the nature of its declaration of independence. Experts stress that if Puigdemont did declare independence, the Spanish government will no doubt enact Article 155. If he says he did not declare independence, the far-left party CUP would likely withdraw their support to Puigdemont's government.

Opposition parties have expressed their support over Rajoy's stance over the issue as socialist opposition leader Pedro Sanchez said that he will be supporting Rajoy if he does end up triggering Article 155 and he also agreed with the Prime Minister in opening a constitutional reform within a 6-month period in order to help Catalonia fit in Spain.

Puigdemont declared Catalonia's independence from Spain on Tuesday; however, he had suspended it from taking into effect to open doors for dialogue with the Spanish government. 

When asked for a statement regarding Rajoy's statement, Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull said that should Madrid invoke Article 155, the Catalan government would press on with its independence. He adds in his statement to Catalunya Radio "We have given up absolutely nothing... We have taken a time out... which doesn't mean a step backwards or a renunciation or anything like that."

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