Spain threatens to use tough measures with Catalonia

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has taken the first step to strip Catalonia’s political autonomy on this Wednesday, halting its drive for independence.

Oct 11 saw Rajoy, speaking after a supplemental meeting amid his ministerial team, say that the Catalan government in Barcelona would have to answer a formal request sent by the cabinet, which would affirm whether the independence was declared either deliberately or unintentionally.

“This request, before any of the measures that the government can implement under Article 155 of our Constitution, aims to offer our citizens the clarity and security that an issue of such importance requires,” Rajoy said, “The answer from the Catalan president will determine future events, in the next few days.” He also added that given the Catalan leadership respecting the law and returning institutions to normality, he could “end a period of uncertainty, tension, and rupture of cohabitation.”

According to Article 155, Mr. Prime Minister of Spain can have full discretion to inactivate Catalonia’s passed government and take back the control from Madrid, marking an eventual defeat of Carles Puigdemont. Angel Talavera, an analyst at Oxford Economics in London, appraised that the Catalan leadership now was in a difficult situation: if he clarified the independence, he would be chased by Rajoy; if he didn’t, his coalition could come to an end, leading to further complicating development.

Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s Socialist party leader, has confirmed that a committee on regional powers would be soon put in place, which would likely lead to constitutional reform.

Jordi Turull, a spokesman for the Catalan government, had judged earlier that once Article 155 was triggered, dialogue would become impossible. “In that case, we have to honor our promise, we’ll have to proclaim a republic,” he said in an interview with regional broadcaster TV3. Meanwhile, Dolors Bassa - Catalonia’s labor chief, wrote on Twitter in a nod to Turull’s talks that the Catalonia would resolutely stick to the independence choice, which had been acquiesced by Puigdemont and 72 regional lawmakers.

Stocks and bonds in Wednesday’s session have traded mixed on the prime minister’s statement. Spain’s benchmark stock index advanced around 1.4 percent in the European trading session, however, yields on 10-year bonds fairly dropped by 1.66 percent.
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