Spain To Activate Article 155 Process, Suspending Catalonia Autonomy

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Originaly appeared at Zero Hedge

Spain announced it will trigger the so-called “nuclear option” of Article 155 under the Spanish Constitution, and move ahead with the process of suspending Catalan autonomy and the powers of the local government, after Regional President Carles Puigdemont for the second time in three days refused to drop his claim to independence.

Spain deployed the ultimate constitutional weapon after Puigdemont said the regional parliament may declare independence unless the government in Madrid agrees to talks. Puigdemont’s response came to an ultimatum from Madrid to renounce his claims to full autonomy by Thursday or face the consequences. “It’s not that difficult to reply to the question”, but there is still no definitive “yes” or “no”. Consequently, Madrid is poised to trigger Article 155 this Saturday, suspending the autonomy of the breakaway region.

As previewed last night, the “final” deadline passed and Catalonian leader, Carles Puigdemont didfailed to satisfy Madrid’s demands.

Puigdemont had sent a new letter to Mariano Rajoy minutes before the second Article 155 deadline ran out at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning. That new letter did not provide the clarity the central government was seeking about the status of the independence of Catalonia, the Spanish Prime Minister’s office said.

“The suspension remains, it’s up to the Spanish Government to enforce article 155 with the authorisation of the Senate… If the central government persists in blocking dialogue and continues its repression, the Catalan Parliament may proceed, if it considers it appropriate, to approve a formal declaration of independence,” Puigdemont said in his letter to Rajoy.

Puigdemont also said that his request for a face-to-face meeting had been ignored, and that Spanish “repression” of Catalonia was being stepped up with the jailing of two separatist activists on Monday. “My request for the repression to end has not been met either,” Puigdemont said. “On the contrary, it has increased.”

In response, the Spanish government said in a Thursday morning statement that “the government will continue with the procedures set out in Article 155 of the Constitution to restore the legality of self-rule in Catalonia.”

The deadline had been imposed by the Spanish Government and yesterday Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, warned that anything less than dropping the secession bid meant that it would begin the process of taking control of the Catalonian Administration. This morning, Madrid’s initial response has been to accuse Puigdemont of blackmail and confirm it will continue the process of triggering Article 155.

Next, the Spanish Cabinet will meet this Saturday to trigger Article 155: the Spanish Senate, under the control of Rajoy’s party, would initiate the transfer of power from Catalonia to Madrid “in order to protect the general interest of Spaniards, among them the citizens of Catalonia, and restore constitutional authority in that autonomous community [region]”.. It is expected to take 48 hours to appoint a replacement for Puigdemont and set a timeframe for regional elections in Catalonia. After that, it is expected to take several more days for the Government’s decisions to be implemented. So, we are probably looking at late next week before Madrid might take control of policing in Catalonia.

Besides the possibility of civil unrest in Catalonia, Rajoy is also likely to face pressure from groups which are sympathetic to the Catalans. From a BBC report “The Spanish parliament has seen sharp exchanges in recent days, with the head of one left-wing Catalan party accusing the government of choosing humiliation, repression and fear over dialogue. At one point, politicians from radical left-wing Spanish party Podemos held up placards urging the release of the Catalan independence activists, calling them ‘political prisoners’.” In addition, Rajoy has lobbied the Socialists to back him over Catalonia, but they are advising him to take adopt a gradual approach to intervention.

Article 155 is contained in Spain’s 1978 constitution, which was drawn up in the wake of Franco’s death. It has never been invoked, so Spain and financial markets are heading into uncharted territory.

The initial market reaction has been negative, with Europe’s Stoxx 600 extending losses to as much as 0.8%, while Spain’s IBEX 35 slid as much as 1%. Spain 5Y CDS was currently quoted 73.53 according to CMA data as of 9:56am London Wider than South Korea (70.38) and India (71.76) and just inside inside Peru (78.04) and Panama (78.30), according to Bloomberg. The Euro initially slumped on the news, dropping as low as 1.770 before recouping all losses.

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  • Barba_Papa

    And the insanity in Spain goes on. Rajoy continues to chose the more stupid course of action at every opportunity, only making things worse. By being this heavy handed he only serves to legitimize what was a constitutional illegal referendum and make the Catalan separatists look like heroes. Instead of the idiots that they are.

    • Petrus Levelleri

      I think you don’t understand how far the catalan autonomous government has gone the last 5 years. They have created a state within the state and Madrid, occupied with economic issues, has turned a blind eye on it. Now it’s do or die, the parallel administration must be suppressed and the autonomy restablished in conformity with the 1978 Spanish Constitution and the 2006 Statute of Autonomy. No-one is suppressing the autonomy, just taking control of it and restablishing it within the law.

    • Solomon Krupacek

      you are wrong. rajoy does what hem tells the law. the separatists are crazy people.

  • Petrus Levelleri

    False: Madrid is not “suspending” the autonomy, all the institutions and competencies of the Generalitat will be kept in place, Madrid is assuming temporarily SOME competencies until new regional elections are held. Catalan separatist politicians will be held accountable for their misdeeds.

    • occupybacon

      I hope they end up in prison

  • juan carlos ayala

    se les acabo la mamadera

  • Nigel Maund

    The EU is a Dictatorship and there’s no doubt whatsoever about that!! Spain lke all EU countries is controlled by the Zionist International Bankster Cabal under the control of the Rothschild clan. The EU Commissioners are unelected and hence are Commissars identical in power to the old USSR or the Burgomeisters of Nazi Germany. The much vaunted claim that the EU is a democracy is completely hollow and in fact a sick joke.

    • Solomon Krupacek

      BS

      the EU simply will not mix in the inner issues of member state. just therefore, beacause IS NOT dictatorship!

      the truth is, zionist were always against EU and €. so, you are completely wrong.

  • gustavo

    Latinoamérica must support Catalunia.