Spanish state prosecutor seeks charges against deposed Catalan leaders

Spain's state prosecutor is seeking charges against deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and others in his dissolved government after the regional Parliament unilaterally declared independence last week.

The prosecutor, Jose Manuel Maza, said the leaders would face court for rebellion and sedition. He did not name those implicated, but a prosecutor's office document named Puigdemont as among those to face court.

The announcement came as civil servants in Catalonia returned to work under the Spanish government's control, following a week of political upheaval.

Madrid suspended the region's autonomy and imposed direct rule after the Catalan parliament unilaterally declared independence on Friday in Barcelona.

Invoking a never-before-used provision of the Spanish constitution, the Spanish government sacked the Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, who spearheaded the region's independence bid. It also dissolved parliament and called new elections for December 21.

Civil servants, some of whom supported the independence bid, faced a choice of obey Madrid or not showing up in an act of defiance.

The Catalan Government's headquarters appeared quiet as the working day began on Monday. A staff member at the reception desk told CNN that everything was operating as normal.

The parliament's speaker, Carme Forcadell, said on Twitter that she would show up for work on Monday, as expected by Madrid, to oversee the transition of power until the December vote. "We continue working," she wrote.

Local armed police guarded the entrance to the government's headquarters in Barcelona, in a sign that local security forces were working as normal. The two chiefs of the Catalan police were among those dismissed by Madrid .

Spain's Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido and several other senior officials will meet with the new chief of the Catalan police, Ferran Lpez, in Madrid.

"We have to go on and back to institutional normality and hold elections on December 21st and that is what we have to do," Zoido told journalists Monday.

The Catalan Police Prefecture circulated a letter over the weekend asking the local police force, the the Mossos d'Esquadra, to remain neutral.

Puigdemont's next move

Spain's prosecutor was expected to file charges against Puidgemont and his ministers as early as Monday.

His Catalan European Democratic Party net at its headquarters Monday morning.

Madrid has said Puigdemont is eligible to run in the December vote, but it has also suggested he could be arrested and charged with rebellion, a crime that could carry a 30-year jail term.

Puigdemont posted a photograph on social media Monday that had been taken from inside Parliament's building with the caption, "Good morning" and a smiley face. The photo had been clearly taken on a previous day and there was no sign that had entered the building on Monday.

Puigdemont has shown no signs of backing down, saying from his hometown of Girona at the weeekend that he still intended to build an independent country. He has called on Catalans to opposed Madrid's rule in a democratic, peaceful fashion.

Deep divisions

Spain was plunged into it worst political crisis since the restoration of democracy in the 1970s after Catalonia held an independence referendum on October 1 that Madrid rejected as illegal. Puigdemont said that the vote gave him a mandate to declare independence.

Some 90% voted in favor of independence in the disputed referendum, but turnout was only 43%.

A new poll suggests that political parties backing independence would not win a majority if elections were held today.

Pro-independence parties would get 61 to 65 seats in the region's parliament, short of a majority in the 135-seat assembly, the Sigma Dos poll suggests. The poll was published Sunday in El Mundo, which has run editorials opposing independence.

Pro-independence parties had 72 seats in the parliament before it was dissolved.

The poll of 1,000 people in Catalonia was conducted by telephone on October 23 to 26, before the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.

This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.