With Spain's Catalan region on the verge of electing pro-independence parties and seeking autonomy from central rule, the government (clearly worried) has ramped up the rhetoric on what consequences lie ahead. In a rather stunning outburst for a supposed democracy, CNA reports, the Spanish Defence Minister, Pedro Morenés, assured that the army won’t act in Catalonia as long as "everybody fulfills their duty." The Catalan minister for the presidency exclaimed Morenes statement was "out of this world," and could only be made by "someone who is afraid of democracy." The army will "enforce the Constitution," Morenes concludes, unless "members strictly obey the rules." As one pro-independence minister opined, "threatening and trying to intimidate means that you are only left with stupidity."
In Novermeber, Spain got a big surprise... Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has a problem. Despite his best legal and propoganda defenses (and harsh weather conditions) today's symbolioc vote for Catalonia independence proceeded... and the initial results (with 88% of the vote counted) are in:
- *TURNOUT IN CATALAN BALLOT WAS ABT 2.25 MLN, GOVT SAYS
- *81% BACK INDEPENDENCE IN CATALAN BALLOT
The Spanish government is saying the "data is not valid" and is investigating the illegal ballot calling it a "useless sham." Catalan President Mas says pro-independence parties will meet this week to put pressure on Madrid.
The Spanish Defence Minister, Pedro Morenés, assured that the army won’t act in Catalonia on 9/27 as long as "everybody fulfils their duty." In an interview with Spanish National Radio (RNE) this Tuesday he recalled that Catalan politicians "have sworn to obey and enforce the Spanish Constitution" and said that he expected them "to do so." When asked about the hypothetical unilateral declaration of independence after the elections, he spoke in support of the implementation of Article 115 of the Spanish Constitution, which establishes the suspension of Catalonia’s autonomy. Morenés stated that he is for "applying the laws if they are disobeyed" and underlined that the army "is an absolutely and perfectly democratic" institution whose members "strictly obey" the rules.
In the event of a unilateral declaration of independence, if pro-independence parties win the Catalan elections on 9/27, Morenés openly showed his support for the application of Article 115 of the Spanish Constitution and emphasised that “the law has to be applied when disobeyed”. Article 115 allows the Spanish Government to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and force it to adhere to the rules.
Morenés’ statement has caused huge controversy amongst the Catalan parties and shook the Spanish political scene as a whole. Both ministers and candidates didn’t take much time to react.
The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, labelled Morenés’ words as “indescribable in a democratic context”. He stated that such statements were “not of this world” and added that it can only be hoped “that one day, a minister from the People's Party (PP) will take Catalonia’s vote into account”.
The spokeswoman for the Catalan government, Neus Munté, responded to Morenés by saying that a statement like this could only be made by “someone who is afraid of democracy”.
The spokesman for left wing pro-independence ERC in the Spanish Parliament, Joan Tardà, described Morenés as a “fool” and a very “low-cost” person in terms of ethics. He said that it was embarrassing that a person who is supposed to be “cultured and travelled” could say “such nonsense”.
Convinced that the Spanish Minister of Defence was using words to try and “frighten” Catalan citizens on the occasion of the 9/27 elections, Tardà noted that this only showed “his weakness” and that “threatening and trying to intimidate means that you are only left with stupidity”.
"Everything is all set for Nov. 9," says a senior Catalan regional government official as the region prepares to defy both the central government and the country's highest court and proceed with a much-disputed weekend vote on whether to secede from Spain. And while the Spanish government has not specified what legal consequences Catalan leaders, poll workers or voters might face Sunday, when they go to vote, The LA Times reports that Madrid has reportedly readied thousands of Civil Guard police officers to travel to Catalonia this weekend if needed.
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On a more serious note, Americans need to understand that Spain is merely a few years ahead of us. The question isn’t whether the status quo will be overthrown, the question is what will replace it. Something better, or something worse? Our key mission must be to ensure we get a better system after this one blows up, not something even worse.
Watch Spain closely in the months ahead. It will be another canary in the coal mine for the entire Western world.
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We leave it to this Twitter user to sum it up:
@zerohedge we, catalan people, only want to vote to see what we want to be! Asking people should never be banned! Spain is not a democracy
— 9Núria (@nuriabg6) November 5, 2014