- Spain Moves to Suspend Catalonia Autonomy
Spain is to start suspending Catalonian autonomy on Saturday, as its leader threatened to declare independence.
The government said ministers would meet to activate Article 155 of the constitution, allowing it to take over running of the region.
Catalonia’s leader said earlier the region’s parliament would vote on independence, backed in a disputed referendum on 1 October, if Spain “continues repression”.
Some fear the moves could spark unrest.
“The Spanish government will continue with the procedures outlined in Article 155 of the Constitution to restore legality in Catalonia’s self-government,” the government statement said.
“It denounces the attitude maintained by those in charge of the Generalitat [Catalan government] to seek, deliberately and systematically, institutional confrontation despite the serious damage that is being caused to the coexistence and the economic structure of Catalonia.
“No-one doubts that the Spanish government will do all it can to restore the constitutional order.”
Article 155 of Spain’s 1978 constitution, which cemented democratic rule after the death of dictator General Franco three years earlier, allows Madrid to impose direct rule in a crisis but it has never been invoked.
Political leaders in Madrid and Barcelona have been engaged in a tense stand-off since the disputed referendum, which Catalan leaders say resulted in a “Yes” vote for independence but which Spain’s supreme court regards as illegal.