Spain set to block Catalonia’s right to independence

Amidst the ongoing secession uproar between the Spanish government and Catalonia, Spain under Mariano Rajoy has announced it will impose direct rule over Catalonia, after the region’s leaders failed to meet a deadline to withdraw a declaration of independence.

The government will trigger article 155 of the constitution, thus empowering it to withdraw Catalonia’s right to govern itself, in a cabinet meeting on Saturday, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed – a provision under Spain’s 1978 Constitution, but has never been used in the four decades since democracy was restored at the end of General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship.

Rajoy’s decision followed Catalan President’s Carles Puigdemont’s letter to Mr Rajoy, minutes before a Thursday morning deadline to clarify Catalonia’s position, stating the Catalan parliament could vote on a full declaration of independence from Spain if the latter did not agree to new talks.

Mr Puigdemont in the letter accused the Spanish government of obstructing progress, and warned if Madrid continues to “impede dialogue and continues its repression”, Catalonia would proceed to a formal declaration.

In response, Rajoy’s office said the government would hold the special Cabinet meeting and “approve the measures that will be sent to the Senate to protect the general interest of all Spaniards”.

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