Will take drastic steps on Catalonia: Spanish PM

ANI | Updated: Oct 08, 2017 18:16 IST

Barcelona [Spain], Oct. 8 (ANI): Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has insisted that his government will do everything in its power, including invoking Article 155 of the Constitution, to stop the Catalan Government declaring independence from the country.

"We are going to prevent independence from occurring. I can tell you with absolute frankness that it will not happen," Rajoy said.

The Spanish Prime Minister has also warned that the Spanish authorities would suspend the region's autonomy and take control from Madrid if necessary.

"The thousands of Guardia Civil and national police officers deployed in Catalonia would remain there until things return to normal and repeated calls for the regional government to drop its independence demands," The Guardian reported.

When asked if he would invoke Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which would allow the Madrid Government to step in and take control of Catalonia, he replied, "I am ruling out absolutely nothing when it comes to the law. I will do what I have to do when the time comes and that's the most important thing at the moment. The ideal thing would be to not have to adopt drastic solutions, but to avoid that there would have to be some changes."

Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution outlines how the central government in Madrid would suspend home rule or regional government in one of Spain's 17 autonomous communities. It has never been used and only contains the following two points.

"1. If an autonomous community [Spanish region] were not to fulfil the duties imposed upon it under the Constitution or other laws, or were to act in a manner that gravely attacked the general interest of Spain, the government, having first notified the First Minister of the autonomous community and, in if no reply were received, with an absolute majority in the Senate, may adopt the measures necessary to oblige that [region] to forcibly comply with said duties or to protect the aforementioned general interest."

"2. To execute the measures foreseen in the previous section, the government may give instructions to all of the authorities in the autonomous communities."

The Spanish Congress's legal synopsis of the article describes it as an "exceptional or extreme" measure "for situations that are equally exceptional or extreme".

The warning comes after Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said that the Catalan parliament would declare independence "in the coming days," as the result of an unsanctioned referendum in which more than 90 percent of those who voted backed independence.

Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona to condemn the violent crackdown by Spanish security forces during the weekend referendum on independence, in which 893 people were injured. The Catalan government said it earned the right to split from Spain, claiming 90% of those who voted in Sunday's poll were in favour of independence.(ANI)

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