Spain PM Fires Catalan Government, Calls Snap Elections In Retaliation For Independence Vote

Update 4: In a live TV address to the nation, Spain's PM Rajoy just announced that it is a "sad day" in which Catalans showed "contempt" for democracy, and ignored the general interest; that the Catalan declaration is unacceptable to majority of Catalans, and that, as a result and as expected, he is firing Catalan president Carles Puigdment, the Catalan police chief, and the entire Catalan government as "prudence" and "serenity" are now needed: "we never wanted to reach this situation".

Ministries in the central government will assume powers of the Catalan administration.

The Prime Minister also announced he has dissolved the Catalan Parliament and called for snap elections to be held on December 21 which will be "free, legal and clean".

As The Spain Report adds, the central government also ordered all of Catalonia's "embassies" abroad closed, along with the region's publicly funded Diplocat diplomacy service, and sacked the director general of the Catalan Police (Mossos), Pere Soler.

Rajoy also said Spain has enough resources to "recover normality" in Catalonia within the law and thanked the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and Ciudadanos for their support.

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Update 3: Spain’s top prosecutor will seek rebellion charges for those responsible for a vote in favor of declaring an independent Catalan republic, an official Spanish spokesman said according to The Independent. The spokesman said the prosecutor is looking to determine if the charges should be limited to the Catalan cabinet, including President Carles Puigdemont and Vice President Oriol Junqueras, or if they should also include members of the parliament’s governing board and lawmakers.

The official, who spoke under condition of anonymity in line with internal rules, said the charges could be brought as early as Monday. As Mr. Maza warned,"The rebellion crime is punishable by 30 years in prison if it is a crime of considerable gravity, of course...if the Catalan police did not comply with the order, Spain would take over control of the force."

As a reminder, and as The Spain Report tweeted what happened the last time the Catalan republic was declared, in 1934:, there was i) State of war; ii) Lasted 10 hours and iii) led to 46 dead in Barcelona.

Puigdemont has called on fellow separatists to remain peaceful ahead of the expected crackdown by Spanish authorities. Facing a crowd of hundreds of supporters packing Catalonia’s parliament building, he said: “In the days ahead we must keep to our values of pacificism and dignity. It’s in our, in your hands to build the republic.” Good luck.

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Update 2: Article 155 is now official, after Spain's Constitutional Court lists the series of measures allowing central government to force Catalonia regional administration to obey national law. The two-page document was published Friday in Spain's Official Gazette, in step necessary to becoming law. The measures approved by the Senate follow government proposal, under Article 155 of Constitution. By way of explanation, the actions were taken due to “extraordinary seriousness of the breach of constitutional obligations and the carrying out actions gravely against the general interest” by Catalonia institutions.

As Article 155 was codified by publication in the Spanish Official Gazette, at the top of the list published by the Constitutional Court was the potential removal from office of the region’s president, vice-president and cabinet. The list was published along with a two-page addendum of modifications by the Senate. The Catalan administration will continue to function, though the central government in Madrid can veto its decisions. Additionally, the region’s police, the 17,000-member Mossos d’Esquadra, must take direct orders from Madrid, which can supplement their role with national police, which already are under control of the central government. The measures took immediate effect on publication.

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Update: Just minutes after the Catalan government voted for Independence from Spain, with a former Decision of Independence likely to follow momentarily, over in Madrid wasted no time in responding, and moments ago, with 214 for and 47 against, voted to approve Article 155 of Spain's 1978 Constitution, aka the Nuclear Option which has never been used before, suspending home rule in Catalonia, and giving Prime Minister Rajoy the power to oust the Catalan government.

What happens next?

Spain will promptly move to remove the Catalan president, suspend his ministers and assume authority over the region's public media, police and finances, the only question is how, and what this process will look like.

Indeed, as Bloomberg reported earlier, Spanish politician Garcia Albiol tweeted that Spanish Prime-Minister Mariano Rajoy will restore democracy in Catalonia, adding that courts will reprimand the “plotters.” Furthermore, Spain's El Pais reported that rebellion charges will likely be leveled soon at Catalans for Secession.

An angry Rajoy spoke to reporters in Madrid after the Catalan parliament declared independence and said that "the Catalan parliament has approved something that in the opinion of the great majority of people doesn’t just go against the law but is a criminal act because it supposes declaring something that is not possible which is the independence of Catalonia.”

He also said that he will address Spain at the end of the evening.

In terms of immediate next steps, there will be a Spanish Cabinet Meeting, which has been moved ahead to 5pm local time.

After that, things may get delicate, especially if Spain sends in the proverbial cavalry.

Incidentally, here is the historic moment Catalonia declared independence from Spain:

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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 pass 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 oif yesterday's hype-fueled hope-buying...

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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.

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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.

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Update (0850ET): Catalan's opposition party members have just abandoned parliamnet 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.

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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.

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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 afterwards, 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".

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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.


Overflow TheSilentMajority Fri, 10/27/2017 - 06:41 Permalink

Independence was announced to be declared on september 2012. The day arrived and they said in tht date they'd "start a process" and, if they won elections thy'd declare independence next monday. They won, but did not declare anything. They said they will be independent after a 18 months process.18 months passed they said they would hold a referendum.  Ilegal, but nobody opposed.  They won it by 95% (only secessionists vote) so we expected independence next morning. But something happened and they gave us a one year deadline,.A year passed by but no independence, they started "the dis-connection procedure"- ...-...  years passing with a new fantasy explanation and a new deadline ... but every step sets the virtual independence closer and closer...-...- a new staged referendum,- a week ago Pigdemont declare independence but suspends it eight seconds after.- two days ago he's going to declare it, but he forgets.- Yesterday he was going to declare it but finally he let the decision to Parlament.  LOL What was the referendum for? They say they won it by 90%. - Anyway, today parlament:    - will vote to start a   18 months process to independence.or  - Will vote independence, but Pigdemon (or someone else) will have to declare it.  So they'll declare that, in a week, they'll have a date for an improtant declaration.  By November or so... get the pattern?  We've been laughing at this farce since 2012 here (spanish)… "... yo sólo te pregunto si quereres que te cuente el cuento de la buena pipa."

In reply to by TheSilentMajority

bluez IH8OBAMA Fri, 10/27/2017 - 16:28 Permalink

Well, Catalan has its own language (it's not Spanish), but Spain tries to force them to speak Spanish. Same deal with the Basques, who speak Basque (not Spanish either). Spain is actually a collection of semi-states that have little in common (except of course corruption).Also, the way the Spanish government dealt with this could not have been more incompetent.This could get seriously ugly.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

OverTheHedge zuuma Sat, 10/28/2017 - 00:50 Permalink

Last time, it was all about who got control of the harvest. This time, with JIT delivery and vast international grain production, it will be all about who gets the most ex-soviet anti tank weapons. I can see a ten year insurgency needing US boots on the ground to protect and invest in democracy.The Spanish centre is all upset by the lack of unity, but why do they think that ruling (and I use that word intentionally) over people who don't want to be ruled, will end well. Why not say something along the lines of " People seem a bit out out, so why don't we all sit down and work out a compromise that leaves all of us happy, or at least equally not happy, but without killing people?" Funny that rulers never seem to consider what the people want...and I am thinking of all sides in the mess.Must be early if I am waxing whimsical. Need to go and raise the flag for National Day now - how ironic is that?

In reply to by zuuma

Give Me Some Truth KJWqonfo7 Fri, 10/27/2017 - 12:19 Permalink

Re: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave ..."... In the "land of the free."We bought a car recently (well, went in hock to get a car so my wife could get to her job). She is indeed free to drive it ... IF we pay the tax man $175 for a piece of tin we have to put above the rear bumper, and if she pays $30 to renew her driver's license.So, we decided not to pay.I just bailed my wife out of jail. That cost us $500. Her Court date is set for January 23rd. If she is guilty, she will have to pay a fine of no less than $2,000 and serve no less than 60 days in jail. I'm not sure yet how much the attorney will bill us.The kids and I shall miss her. She's requested lots of paperbacks. And an I-Phone ... so she can play that Lee Greenwood song.Sing it with me now:"And I'm proud to be an American. Where at least I know I'm free ..." 

In reply to by KJWqonfo7

bluez Give Me Some Truth Fri, 10/27/2017 - 16:53 Permalink

Of course, if she had simply stolen somebody else's car the charges would be far less severe.The lawyer will be the real expense. A real good one might get the carges "reduced" via some loophole.By the way, I once was aquainted with this billionaire girl who's name is likely to be on products in your house right now, and she drove around constantly in a flat-black flat-bed truck with her name on the side! And even though she stood out like no other, I watched her drive around with absolutely nothing like licence plates, not even one of those cardboard "substitutes" that hang in the windows of people whose plates fall off. There is a lesson in this somewhere, I suspect.

In reply to by Give Me Some Truth

drewster3 Give Me Some Truth Sat, 10/28/2017 - 13:19 Permalink

Driving is a privilege not a right.  As a driver myself, I know that if someone rams my car, or plows into a crowd, that we'll know who the car is registered to and can confirm who it belongs to.  And thankfully, this likely keeps some of the mayhem off the road.  And I also know that at least having a license means that I've at least passed the basic requirements for understanding how to nagivate the vehicle.  This also keeps additional problems of unskilled drivers off the road.  And no, I am not willing to 'take your word' that you or your wife know how to drive.  If you and your wife aren't intelligent enough to understand this, then I'm not so sure I'd want you or your wife on the road.  I agree totally with the outcome on this.  Thankfully our system is working just as it should.  Keep paying the fines, showing up for court, burning your life away standing on a principle that is poorly-formed and ill-concieved.

In reply to by Give Me Some Truth

Haus-Targaryen HillaryOdor Fri, 10/27/2017 - 10:52 Permalink

We'll see. I fail to see how this works out well for the powers that be. Lets assume for a second that MRB comes down on the Catalonians with the iron fist of Stalin.  Riots in Barcelona, dead Spanish police, dead Catalonian "protestors".  You have a few caskets draped in the Spanish flag with state honors in Madrid while people are burying physics students, grandmas and little kids in Catalonia.  Both sides will want blood, and once you get to that point, historically -- one of two things happens: 1) both sides reflect 'this is some crazy shit, maybe we should think about this' or one side basically says 2) fuck it' lets get'em! #1 Traditionally happens when the players are equally sized and definitive victory for either side isn't assured.  #2 traditionally happens when the players are disproportionally matched and the stronger of the two basically says "fuck it, even if we lose people, it only helps our cause" and the purges continue. If this is the path chosen, and #2 actually occurs (which is looking all the more likely) the idea that the EU is a "free and democratic" society will be removed for many -- and those regions in Europe seeking independence from their "host" nation will likely become very skeptical ... especially if there is a "member state" basically steamrolling over their own people based upon the idea that the current political composition of government has a 'divine' right to exist in perpetuity -- unchanged. I imagine many of these independence movements, especially those who are conservative leaning -- (I'm looking at you Flanders and Northern Italy) -- will begin to shift their opinion on the EU, what it really means (as opposed to what it says) and how they can ever achieve their goals of independence while remaining a part of the EU. Basically, this action by Madrid coupled with either inaction by the EU and definitely if the EU supported Madrid would clearly show all other separatist movements in Europe that their aspirations of independence and the European Union are mutually exclusive to one another. If Madrid lets them go, while likely good for the EU politically, it would be financially impossible to maintain the euro as a currency if Madrid loses gross 30% of its tax revenue (net ca 5%)

In reply to by HillaryOdor