Catalonia Declares Independence From Spain

Catalonia Declares Independence From Spain

Catalonia Declares Independence From Spain

"Today is a sad, dramatic day in Catalonia".

In a stunning show of defiance of Madrid, the Catalan parliament had voted in the afternoon to make a unilateral declaration of independence. Rajoy called on senators to approve direct rule over Catalonia.

The United States also voiced its support for the Madrid government.

The crisis has now reached a new and possibly unsafe level as independence supporters have called for a campaign of disobedience. Catalonia is one of the wealthiest regions of the country, and with harsh austerity measures imposed in the wake of an economic slowdown, some Catalan residents have increasingly called for independence.

The Catalan government said that of the 43 per cent who took part in the referendum, 90 per cent were in favour of independence.

There is no mechanism in place to allow them to move toward independence.

She explained that she had wanted to cast a spoilt ballot in the referendum but didn't due to "too much waiting, too many IT problems". But it has a litany of historic grievances, exacerbated during the 1939-1975 Franco dictatorship, when its culture and politics were suppressed. Yesterday, they focused their ire on Puigdemont, calling him a "traitor", as his commitment to declaring independence wavered.

Also unclear is how Rajoy's other measures will work on the ground, because of the reactions of civil servants and the regional police, know as the Mossos d'Esquadra, who are reported to be divided in their loyalties. "The clash is here and it won't be pretty", Antonio Barroso, a political risk analyst at Teneo Intelligence in London, said in an email to clients. That's because the central government plans to take over key operations in Catalonia now run by ministers.

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Thousands of people gathered outside Catalonia's parliament building as lawmakers were voting in a secret ballot.

What is happening in Catalonia is "a clear violation of the laws, of democracy, of the rights of all, and that has consequences", he said.

The move is opposed by all the opposition in the prosperous region, with some opposition lawmakers saying they will boycott the vote, and in Madrid, where authorities are seeking to dismiss the Catalan ruling coalition. The result of the vote was greeted with cheers within the Catalan legislature and the spontaneous singing of the Catalan anthem "El Segadors".

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who received rapturous applause before and after his speech in the Senate in Madrid, told the chamber Spain was facing a challenge not seen in its recent history.

'It is based on a vote that was declared illegal by the Spanish courts'.

European Union President Donald Tusk said on Twitter that nothing has changed in the policy toward Catalonia and Spain "remains our only interlocutor". Any perceived over-reaction by Madrid could inflame the situation: increasing worldwide criticism and pushing politically undecided Catalans into the hands of the secessionists.

Catalonia represents a fifth of Spain's gross domestic product.

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