Catalonia Parliament Votes Independence, Spain Vows To Crush ‘Rebellion’

It’s Official. The Catalan Parliament has just voted for independence – 70 ‘Yes’ (needed 68), 10 ‘No’, 2 blank.

As AP reports, Catalan separatist lawmakers passed a motion to establish a new republic independent of Spain, as the opposition boycotts the vote…

We constitute the Catalan Republic, as an independent and sovereign country, under the rule of law,” said the preamble to the resolution, read out by speaker Carme Forcadell before the ballot.

Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras tweeted:

What happens next is anyone’s guess, but we suspect it will involve heavy police state intervention and the Franco-ian regime that separatists fear will rear its ugly head.

The Washington Post reports:

The next move could be a formal declaration of statehood, less than a month after a referendum that backed the push for independence […]

If the Senate invokes the never-before-used Article 155 of Spain’s 1978 constitution, the central government could move swiftly to remove the Catalan president, suspend his ministers and assume authority over the region’s public media, police and finances.”

The Spanish government will undoubtedly now move swiftly to implement Article 155.

Spanish PM Rajoy immediately tweeted “I call tranquility to all Spaniards. The rule of law will restore the legality in Catalonia. MR”:

And Spanish bond yields are snapping higher:

And blowing out relative to bunds…

And Spanish stocks dumped – erasing all of yesterday’s hype-fueled hope-buying:

Live Feed: Catalan Speaker reads the independence declaration before the vote:

“We constitute the Catalan Republic, as an independent and sovereign country, under the rule of law,” said the proposed resolution, read out by the speaker before the vote.

Update (0900ET): The Catalan Parliament confirms the secession proposal will be voted in a secret ballot. This immediately led to the PP MPs leaving the parliament chamber.

Update (0850ET): Catalan’s opposition party members have just abandoned parliament as voting begins on minor resolutions (ahead of the big ‘independence’ decision) but Rajoy’s PP remains in session. Additionally, the separatists have called for the ballot to be private.

Update (0820ET): CUP Deputy Carles Riera rages that the time has come to “build the republic in a context of fight and resistance.”

We propose that Catalonia becomes an independent state in the form of republic.”
“Today we start the removal of the 1978 regime.”

As Spain’s prime minister urged the Senate on Friday to grant his government special constitutional measures that would allow it to take control of Catalonia’s autonomous powers and halt the region’s independence bid.

As we detailed earlier, after yesterday’s chaotic Spanish event rollercoaster, when the Catalan leader Carles Puidgement was going to press ahead with independence only to change his mind, and propose elections, before reversing again and punting the independence decision to parliament, we hoped to get some further clarity on how he’s planning to proceed. Today, the chaos continues.

First, Bloomberg reported that Catalonia would seek approval for elections from Madrid:

The rebel government of Catalonia is making a last-ditch effort to win concessions from Madrid. According to a person familiar with the matter, Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, wants to convince supporters to accept regional elections instead of a declaration of independence. A senior Catalan official will ask the Spanish government to suspend the process of seizing direct control of the region if there is a snap election.

However, shortly afterward, The Spain Report carried breaking news that the secessionists would debate a motion to declare independence in today’s session of the Catalonian Parliament.

More from the report:

Catalan separatist parties—Junts Pel Sí (“Together For Yes”) and the CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy)—have registered a motion to declare the independence of Catalonia in the regional parliament.

A copy of the document published by Spanish media included the phrase: “We constitute the Catalan Republic as an independent sovereign democratic, social state of law”.

The text would also approve the activation of the secession bill approved by the regional chamber at the beginning of September and voided by the Constitutional Court and “begin the constituent process.”

The Speaker’s Committee is currently deciding on which motions to accept for the second part of the session in the Catalan Parliament on Article 155, which is due to begin at 12 p.m.

At the same time, there are unconfirmed reports that police are closing off roads around the regional parliament.  Meanwhile, the Spanish Senate has been debating the implementation of Article 155 in Madrid. Rajoy told lawmakers that Spain faced an exceptional situation and asked them to support his proposal on Article 155. The Spain Report shows video of Rajoy receiving a standing ovation.

Here are flash reports from Bloomberg on the parliamentary debate in Madrid:

  • Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy speaks in Senate.
  • Spain’s Rajoy Asks Senate to Support Proposal on Art. 155
  • Rajoy: Nothing Substantial Happened Since Govt Approved ART.155.
  • “The only talks I was invited to was to discuss terms and conditions of Catalan independence,”
  • Spain confronts exceptional situation, Rajoy tells Senate
  • “Exceptional measures should only be adopted when there is no other possible remedy’’:

As Bloomberg reported this morning, Puigdemont has been running out of options.

Backed into a corner by his own hardliners and Rajoy’s refusal to give him a dignified way out, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont will address the regional parliament in Barcelona as demonstrators clamor for a declaration of independence. After a day of high drama that saw Puigdemont caught between the might of the Spanish state and the anger of the street, western Europe’s worst constitutional crisis for decades may be coming to a head with the separatist leader running out of options

The day of confusion saw the president make a televised address after two postponements, lawmakers quit his party and a senior Catalan official jump ship, all while Spanish ministers were repeating their mantra that the Catalans must be brought to heel. The Spanish stock market posted its biggest gain since Oct. 5 only to pare the advance as events unfolded. Puigdemont said he had considered calling the regional vote, but he didn’t get the concessions he sought from officials in Madrid. “I tried to get the guarantees to carry out these elections, but didn’t get a responsible answer,” he said.

Last night, reports from the secessionist camp implied that independence would be declared.

“We are winning,” Lluis Corominas, the head of Puigdemont’s PDeCat group, told lawmakers on Thursday night. “We should materialize the effects of the Oct. 1 referendum and implement them.” That’s code for declaring independence.

Maybe they are correct, but until then this remains a dangerously fluid and volatile situation.

Top photo | Protesters with Catalan flags take part in a rally in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Catalonia’s parliament on Friday will resume debating its response to the Spanish government’s plans to strip away its regional powers to halt it pushing toward independence. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)


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