Spain likely to seize powers from Catalonia

ANI | Updated: Oct 21, 2017 13:32 IST

Madrid [Spain], Oct.21 (ANI): Spain is likely to take the unprecedented step of seizing powers from the separatist government in Catalonia today.

The Spanish government has received the backing of King Felipe VI and the European Union in its battle to keep the country together.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will meet with his cabinet at 10 a.m. local time to set out specific powers it plans to take away from the wealthy northeast region, the Daily Star reports.

Catalonia currently enjoys wide autonomy, including control over its own policing, education and healthcare.

On Friday, King Felipe VI described Catalonia's recent referendum for independence as an "unacceptable secession attempt" and said the crisis sparked by the region's banned October 1 independence referendum must be resolved "through legitimate democratic institutions".

"We do not want to give up that which we have built together," he pleaded.

Madrid enjoys constitutional powers to wrest back control of rebellious regions in one of the Western world's most decentralised nations, but it has never used them.

Autonomy is a hugely sensitive issue in semi-autonomous Catalonia, which saw its powers taken away under Spain's military dictatorship.

Home to 7.5 million people, the region fiercely defends its own language and culture. (ANI with inputs)