Catalonia independence: Puigdemont 'will not accept' Rajoy plan
October 21, 2017 4:46 pm
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont says Catalonia will not accept Madrid’s plan to impose direct rule on the region.
He described it as the worst attack on Catalonia’s institutions since General Franco’s 1939-1975 dictatorship, under which regional autonomy was dissolved.
Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy’s plans include the removal of Catalonia’s leaders and curbs on its parliament.
It follows the independence referendum that went ahead despite being banned by Spain’s Constitutional Court.
Mr Puigdemont said the Spanish government was acting against the democratic will of Catalans after refusing all offers of dialogue.
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Image caption Mr Puigdemont said Madrid had refused offers of dialogue
He said he would call for a session in the Catalan parliament to debate a response to Mr Rajoy’s plans.
Addressing European citizens in English, he added that the European Union’s founding values were “at risk in Catalonia”.
What is the Spanish government planning?
Earlier Mr Rajoy said he was triggering article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which allows for direct rule to be imposed in a crisis on any of the country’s semi-autonomous regions.
Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday, Mr Rajoy stopped short of dissolving the region’s parliament but put forward plans for elections.
He insisted that the measures would not mean Catalan self-government itself was being suspended – instead, he said, the plan was to remove those people who had “taken self-government outside the law and the constitution”.
The measures, which are supported by opposition parties, must now be approved by Spain’s Senate in the next few days.
Reports say that Spain’s interior ministry is preparing take control of Catalonia’s Mossos d’Esquadra police force and remove its commander Josep Lluís Trapero, who is already facing sedition charges.
The government is also considering taking control of Catalonia’s public broadcaster TV3, El País newspaper reported.
What other reaction has there been?
The use of article 155 has sparked widespread criticism in Catalonia, where many say it amounts to a suspension of the region’s powers of self-government.
The Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, called the measures a “de facto coup d’etat”.
“It is an authoritarian coup inside a member state of the European Union,” she said, adding that Mr Rajoy intended to “put an end to a democratically elected government”.
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Catalan Vice-President Oriol Junqueras said Mr Rajoy and his allies had “not just suspended autonomy. They have suspended democracy”.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau said it was a “serious attack on the rights and freedoms of all, both here and elsewhere”.
Iñigo Urkullu, the president of the government in Spain’s semi-autonomous Basque region, said using article 155 was “extreme and disproportionate”.