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Spain set to suspend Catalonia's regional autonomy

A demonstrator holds up a Catalan independence flag during a protest in Barcelona - REUTERS

A demonstrator holds up a Catalan independence flag during a protest in Barcelona - REUTERS

20/10/2017 17:27

(Vatican Radio) The Spanish government has said it will meet on Saturday to trigger Article 155, suspending Catalonia’s regional autonomy. 

Giulia Cirillo reports on the latest developments in this escalating political crisis: 

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont failed on Thursday to meet his deadline for confirming that independence has not been declared. This followed a speech last week in which he said the declaration was suspended and once again called for dialogue with Madrid.  

In response, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy issued an ultimatum, saying Spain would trigger article 155 of its national constitution and move to rescind Catalonia’s autonomy, unless Puigdemont abandoned his plans.  

Next steps

With this move now set to go ahead on Saturday, it is unclear what will happen in practical terms. The Spanish government will draw up a list of measures, which could range from taking control of the local police force to dissolving the regional parliament. Catalan leaders have the right to respond to these proposals and the Spanish Senate will need to approve them, so the time-scale for measures to be implemented could stretch to several weeks. 

Tensions running high

Meanwhile, tensions on the ground were already running high, following the imprisonment on Monday of two of the leaders of Barcelona’s pro-independence protests, pending trial on charges of sedition. 

Need to avoid violence

With separatists outraged by what they call the taking of Catalonia’s first political prisoners and thousands poised to take to the streets, politicians on both sides will need to exercise the utmost caution to avoid unrest and violence. 

20/10/2017 17:27