An Autonomy Crisis Deepens in Spain
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, earlier today, followed up on plans for invoking Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution that allows the Madrid government to take control of any of the nation's 17- autonomous regions: to wit Catalonia.
Madrid's proposed measures toward the Article 155 invocation, call for the suspension of the Catalan President, Catalan's Vice-President and Catalan's government ministers, all of whom would be replaced by the Madrid administration, until a time of new new elections in Catalonia within six-months, but hopefully sooner, as Rajoy wished, in an announcement earlier today and reported by CNN.
On October 1, 2017, the people of the wealthy northeastern region of Spain, Catalonia, approved an independence referendum with 90-percent of 43-percent-voter-turn-out of its electorate, voting for independence. Madrid exercised a baton-beating attack on more than 900 Catalans in a move to prevent the vote of which it disapproved. The Spanish Supreme Court has since ruled the referendum unconstitutional. The Catalan government has voted an independence declaration that President Carles Puigdemont has suspended formally declaring, hoping for agreed upon talks with Madrid, aimed at diffusing the autonomy crisis.
On Thursday Madrid said that today it would invoke Article 155 on the autonomous Catalonia region seeking to retain it under the Spanish Crown, so to speak. Thus, today's announcement of actions to suspend the Catalonia government and to call new elections in the region.
Prime Minister Rajoy claimed: "The autonomy is not suspended, nor the government..."People are removed who put the government outside the law, outside the Constitution and outside statutes." Removals could start as soon as next week once the Spanish Senate, as expected, approves the measures as part of the invocation of Article 155.
Catalans are expected to march in support of independence in Barcelona later today.
It is apparent that the autonomy crisis has deepened in Spain. Constitutional scope and limitation could figure high as the unprecedented action to prevent an autonomous region from becoming independent continues in Spain.
The Spanish Constitution states that a region's autonomy cannot be repealed. Does the suspension of a region's government members conclude the lost of its autonomy? The people in Madrid and in Barcelona will have to decide.