In an unprecedented move against Catalonia or any of the other regions, the Spanish central government is taking over.
Spain’s move against Catalonia is not unconstitutional, we are told, but it is unprecedented. Never before has the national central government taken “direct rule” over any of Spain’s seventeen regions. It is hard to see how this action will do anything good for Spain or Catalonia. The Catalonians will only become angrier and more independence-minded. Spain is exacerbating the problem, not solving it.
The New York Times reports, “Spain Will Remove Catalan Leader, Prime Minister Announces.”
In a first for Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced on Saturday that he would remove the separatist government of the independence-minded region of Catalonia and initiate a process of direct rule from Madrid.
The announcement, made after an emergency cabinet meeting, was an unexpectedly forceful attempt to stop a yearlong drive for secession in Catalonia, which staged a highly controversial independence referendum on Oct. 1, even after it was declared illegal by the Spanish government and courts.
Mr. Rajoy took the bold steps with broad support from Spain’s main political opposition, and will almost certainly receive the required approval next week from the Spanish Senate, where his own conservative party holds a majority.
But the moves were immediately condemned by Catalan leaders and thrust Spain into uncharted waters, as the prime minister tried to put down the gravest constitutional crisis his country has faced since embracing democracy after the death of its dictator Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975.
It would be the first time that the central government in Madrid has stripped the autonomy of one of its 17 regions, and the first time that a leader has invoked Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution — a broad tool intended to protect the “general interests” of the nation.
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