Rajoy vs Puigdemont: Independence?

The region also suffers from internal division, which makes it difficult to clarify whether there really is a desire for consensual independence

Rajoy vs Puigdemont 

Leer en Español: Rajoy vs Puigdemont: ¿Independencia?

October 2017 will be forever remembered in the history of Spain as the day the autonomous region of Catalonia declared its independence and the response of the Spanish government, as expected, was to activate the Article 155. This piece of legislation dissolves the Catalan parliament, the autonomous government, and calls for December elections.

However, the situation is more complex if it is studied carefully. The unilateral declaration implies risks to the economy that has already shaken the world's stock markets, has had numerous social consequences, and the risk of cohesion within Spain and its impact on the entire European continent.

On October 27th, the then president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, spoke to the press who was eagerly awaiting a possible announcement of independence; the Catalan government preferred to declare that since there were no guarantees for elections and, thus counteracting article 155 of the constitution, everything has been left in the hands of Parliament.

The Parliament of Catalonia approved the beginning process to constitute "a Catalan Republic as an independent, sovereign, democratic, and social State". The motion for independence was approved with 70 votes in favor, 10 against and 2 in blank; 53 deputies out of the 135 left the precinct before voting in order to show their rejection of the initiative.

The acceptance for the declaration of independence was made known throughout the Spanish territory and in Catalonia the jubilation was manifested when the pro-independents gathered and sang the Catalan anthem. Likewise, it was requested to remove the Spanish flag from all official buildings.

But the celebration would be quickly ended by the Spanish central government, which under a mandate that had been granted by the senate, conferred to Mariano Rajoy, president of the central government, dissolved the Catalan parliament, dismissed the Catalan president, and called for elections in the autonomous region.

Rajoy, in his public announcement of the measures taken, emphasized that "it is the ballot boxes, the real ones" that are going to give back control of the region to the Catalan people.

For the European Union, the situation does not change for now. Almost unanimously, its neighboring countries have shown support to the Spanish union and compliance of law.

Catalonia also suffers from internal division, which makes it difficult to clarify whether there really is a desire for consensual independence.

The Spanish central government has been assuming control of the Catalan dependencies. The Rajoy administration has also strongly insisted that the Catalan police must maintain neutrality and obedience to the central government. The Catalan foreign delegations were also closed under direct orders of the government of Rajoy; only the Brussels’ headquarters are still operating.

For the Catalan officials, the dissolution of the parliament and the dismissal of the Prime Minister is illegal and also demonstrates the "democratic repression" of which they are victims of, supposedly.

Meanwhile, Carles Puigdemont has traveled to Belgium allegedly in  the hopes to avoid sanctions applied by the Spanish government. Some media outlets state that the politician is seeking asylum, but Puigdemont publicly stated that he traveled to said country due to the fact that he fears for his wellbeing and will stay there until his safely is not at risk.


Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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