Tensions Simmer as Madrid Imposes Direct Rule on Catalonia Following Independence Declaration

  • Tensions Simmer as Madrid Imposes Direct Rule on Catalonia Following Independence Declaration

Tensions Simmer as Madrid Imposes Direct Rule on Catalonia Following Independence Declaration

In Brussels, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said the independence vote changed nothing and the EU would only deal with the central government in Madrid.

The Scottish Government said it understands and respects the position of the Catalan Government after the regional parliament voted to establish an independent republic from Spain.

Rajoy has called a Cabinet meeting this evening.

While the UK Government said it will not recognise the declaration of independence, Scotland's External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the people of Catalonia "must have the ability to determine their own future".

The senate, where Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party holds a majority, is scheduled to meet from 10:00 am (0800 GMT) to vote on steps to depose Catalonia's secessionist government before the week is out, after the region held an unlawful independence referendum on October 1. Regional President Carles Puigdemont and his vice president, Oriol Junqueras, exchanged congratulatory embraces and handshakes following the ballot. And so, this is really the struggle, is that the leaders want and feel like they have a mandate in Parliament, they've been talking about this for a long time, that they want to have a vote on the referendum.

Hours earlier in Madrid, Rajoy made his case for measures to keep Spain unified. "They are approaching a cliff. with consequences that are hard to predict right now", says Joan Barcelo, a researcher on political conflicts at Washington University in St. Louis.

The Spanish Senate is now debating applying Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to Catalonia to sack Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his executive, and hand control of Catalan institutions to Madrid.

Nearly a month after Catalans voted for independence from the rest of Spain, in a referendum Madrid considered illegal, a new battle has begun. Ultimately, he put it to Catalonia's 135 MPs to vote.

The Senate on Friday granted the government extraordinary powers to end the Catalan secession drive.

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.

After the vote, those that remained in the chamber for the vote sang the Catalan anthem.

Before the parliament session, large crowds of independence supporters gathered outside in a Barcelona park, waving Catalan flags and chanting slogans in favor of a new state.

There was a possibility that Puigdemont could have called early elections instead of declaring independence, which might have softened Spain's response.