Spain to Trigger Direct Rule on Catalonia to Crush Independence Bid
The Spanish government said Thursday it would begin the process to impose direct rule on Catalonia in an unprecedented move to crush the region's independence bid.
In a statement from Madrid, the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said it would invoke Article 155 of the constitution, a provision that allows the central government to suspend the autonomy of the Catalan regional administration.
Rajoy's Cabinet will meet on Saturday to agree measures to "restore the constitutional order" in Catalonia, where a banned referendum on independence took place earlier this month. The plan will then be put before the Senate, where Rajoy's Popular Party has a majority, for approval.
The statement did not spell out what steps would be taken under Article 155, but the provision gives Madrid the power to take over the running of Catalan institutions and force new elections. It has never been invoked before.
The announcement came minutes after Catalan President Carles Puigdemont threatened that the region could formally declare independence if the Spanish government did not engage in dialogue.