Spanish prime minister wants region's leaders removed

As nearly half a million people protested in Barcelona, Catalonia’s biggest city, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont denounced Rajoy’s decision as well as also said, “The Catalan institutions as well as also the people of Catalonia cannot accept This particular attack.”

He called for the regional parliament to discuss “the attempt to liquidate our self-government as well as also our democracy, as well as also act accordingly,” yet Puigdemont stopped short of declaring regional independence, as he threatened to do earlier from the week.

Earlier from the day, Puigdemont joined the throngs, which police estimated at 450,000 people, in which took to the streets after Rajoy announced his government could invoke rarely used constitutional powers to remove Catalonia’s leaders, including Puigdemont.

Demonstrators shouted, “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” as well as also “Rajoy, Rajoy, so you know we are leaving!”

The constitutional measures — intended to end Catalan leaders’ independence bid — fall under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution as well as also could allow the national government to suspend the autonomy of the Catalan regional administration. Rajoy said the measure could be sent to the Spanish Senate within the next week.
Rajoy, left, called Saturday for the removal of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

The move followed weeks of division triggered by a contested independence referendum October 1.

Nearly 7.5 million people live in Catalonia, an economic powerhouse from the northeast of Spain. Spain’s population can be almost 49 million.

Ouster in Senate’s hands

Under the measures proposed Saturday by Rajoy, Puigdemont, his vice president as well as also ministers could be suspended as well as also replaced by the administration in Madrid, where necessary.

“The government had to enforce Article 155. This particular wasn’t our desire, nor our intention. This particular never was,” Rajoy said. “yet in This particular situation, no government of any democratic country can accept in which the law can be ignored.”

In undertaking these steps, the government has four goals, Rajoy said. These are to return to legality; to restore normality as well as also coexistence in Catalonia; to continue the region’s economic recovery; as well as also to hold elections under normal conditions.

READ MORE: Spain loses 20% of its economy if Catalonia splits

brand-new elections should be called for Catalonia within six months, Rajoy said, adding in which he wants This particular to happen as soon as possible.

Rajoy’s common Party holds a majority from the Senate. Two Spanish opposition parties, PSOE as well as also Ciudadanos, have also said they will back the Article 155 measures, Rajoy said.

Senate Vice President Pedro Sanz said the Senate could hold a session Friday morning to vote on Article 155.

Spain’s national prosecutor’s office told sy88pgw This particular can be preparing to file charges of rebellion if Catalan authorities make a declaration of independence. This particular did not name Puigdemont or any additional officials as possible defendants.

‘Incompatible with the rule of law’

The crisis threatens to fracture Spain, one of the European Union’s principal members.

The campaign for independence in Catalonia represents fundamental European values, Puigdemont said in his televised speech, as well as also he likened Catalonia to additional European nations.

“What you are fighting for at your home, we are also fighting for in Catalonia, as well as also we will continue to do so,” he said.

Puigdemont harshly criticized Rajoy, saying in which “imposing a form of government not chosen by citizens as well as also without a parliamentary majority in which supports This particular can be incompatible with the rule of law.”

The big question Saturday was whether Puigdemont could declare regional independence.

Thursday, he said in which if Madrid kept blocking dialogue, the Catalan parliament reserved the right to formalize a declaration of independence in which was suspended October 10.

Instead, he called for a parliamentary discussion on Saturday. Catalonians will “defend our institutions as we have always done, in a peaceful as well as also civilized way, yet with dignity as well as also reasons,” he said.

Contested referendum

Puigdemont has said Catalonia earned the right to become an independent republic in its October 1 referendum, which was held despite being banned by Spain’s Constitutional Court. Violent scenes unfolded as national police sought to prevent people via casting their ballots.

More than 2.25 million people turned out to vote, with the regional government reporting in which 0% of voters favored a split via Madrid. yet the turnout was low — around 43% of the voter roll — which Catalan officials blamed on the central government’s efforts to stop the referendum.

Puigdemont suspended the effects of the vote to allow for talks with the Spanish government.

People hold candles as well as also a Catalan flag during a demonstration in Barcelona against the arrest of two Catalan separatist leaders on October 17.

Puigdemont also demanded Spain end its “repression” of Catalan separatist leaders, two of whom were taken into custody on suspicion of sedition earlier from the week.

additional Catalan politicians were defiant.

“Today President Rajoy, in an act of enormous political irresponsibility, trespassed all limits. He announced a de facto coup d’etat with which he aims to take over Catalan institutions,” said Catalan Parliamentary leader Carme Forcadell.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau tweeted: “Rajoy has suspended the Catalan self-government for which so many people fought. A serious attack against the rights as well as also freedom of many, here as well as also everywhere.”

READ MORE: Political crisis can be scaring away tourists via Barcelona
Protesters gather in Barcelona's city center on Saturday.

Rajoy urges unity

Rajoy said Saturday in which Puigdemont had repeatedly rejected opportunities to talk to Madrid before calling the banned referendum as well as also insisted his own government was acting to protect the interests of all Spaniards, especially Catalans.

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“I am fully aware This particular moment can be difficult yet all together we are going to overcome (This particular), as we have previously overcome very complicated events throughout our history,” he said.

Rajoy also warned in which an independent Catalonia could be outside the European Union as well as also the globe Trade Organization, with dire consequences for the region’s economic health.

A combination of higher tariffs, lack of access to credit as well as also “disproportionate” inflation could lead to “impoverishment of the Catalan economy of between 25 as well as also 30%,” he said.

Spain’s King Felipe VI said Friday in which Spain was facing an “unacceptable” attempt at secession as well as also in which Catalonia must continue to be a central part of the nation.

EU leaders have backed the Madrid government in its handling of the crisis, which Rajoy insists can be an internal matter.

European Council President Donald Tusk described the Catalonia situation as “concerning” yet said there was “no space for EU intervention,” in remarks Thursday in Brussels.

Spanish prime minister wants region's leaders removed

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