Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took the first step on Wednesday toward suspending Catalonia’s political autonomy and ruling the region directly to thwart a push for independence.
He demanded that the regional government clarify whether it now considered itself independent following a speech by Catalan president Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday night, Reuters reported.
This requirement is a necessary step before triggering Article 155 of the constitution, which would allow Madrid to suspend the region’s political autonomy.
Rajoy’s move could deepen the confrontation between Madrid and Catalonia but it also signals a way out of Spain’s biggest political crisis since a failed military coup in 1981.
The prime minister would be likely to call a snap regional election after activating the constitutional mechanism allowing him to do so.
Puigdemont made a symbolic declaration of independence from Spain on Tuesday night but then immediately suspended it and called for talks with the Madrid government.
“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 said in a televised address after a cabinet meeting to consider the government’s response.
Without giving a specific deadline for the Catalan government to reply, Rajoy said: “The answer from the Catalan president will determine future events, in the next few days.”
It is not yet clear if and when the Catalan government would answer the requirement but it now faces a conundrum, political analysts say.
date: 12 October 2017 id: 11339 source: