H/t reader squodgy.
* * *
The results are in from Catalonia’s snap parliamentary election, and separatist parties have held onto their majority. They dropped from 72 to 70 total seats held, but this still gives them an absolute majority of the regional parliament’s 135 seats.
Junts per Catalunya (JuntsxCat, or Together for Catalonia), the party of ousted president Carles Puigdemont, claimed victory in the regional election in a statement issued after the official results came in on Thursday. JuntsxCat is slated to hold 34 seats, making up almost half of the independence coalition. Two other parties, the left-wing Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia) and Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (Popular Unity Candidacy), make up the rest of the independence coalition.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Party leaders and politicians made last-ditch appeals to undecided voters in Spain’s Catalonia region Tuesday ahead of an election that polls indicate could be a close race between supporters of secession and political rivals who want to remain part of the country.
With opinion polls suggesting that more than 20 percent of the region’s 5.5 million-strong electorate were undecided about who to support in Thursday’s election, the final campaign rallies set out clear battle lines.
BRUSSELS (AP) — Catalonia’s ousted leader vowed Tuesday to prolong the fight for independence from Spain and urged the European Union to speak out over the jailing of Catalan officials in a rebellion case.
H/t reader squodgy.
* * *
The application that is being carried out of Article 155 on Catalan autonomy finds a majority rejection in public opinion.
More than 56% of those consulted disapprove of the application of 155. The positions of the respective groups of electors are quite unanimous.
Among voters who support independence, more than 90% reject the application of 155. Meanwhile, those who support the oppressive regime in Madrid, massively suppport its dictatorial measures.
Puigdemont and four consellers arrested after surrendering in police station
BRUSSELS – The prosecutor’s office in Brussels was preparing to order his arrest in order to appoint a judge.
Belgium has not accepted the petition for political assilum and in doing so, it has condemned the Catalan leaders to face jail time imposed by the Madrid regime.
Ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four ex-ministers on Sunday turned themselves in to Belgian authorities to start the process of their possible extradition to Spain. Puigdemont was accompanied by four other former Catalan officials who are also wanted by Spanish authorities after they fled to Belgium last week after their removed from power by Spanish authorities as part of an extraordinary crackdown to impede the region’s illegal declaration of independence.
According to AP, a spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, Gilles Dejemeppe, said the five presented themselves to federal police and have been in custody since 9 a.m. (0800 GMT; 3 a.m. EST). He said that they have not been arrested and that Puigdemont and the four ex-ministers will be heard by an investigative judge Sunday afternoon.
The Spanish public prosecutor on Thursday ordered the country’s High Court that the Catalonian secessionist leaders be jailed. An arrest warrant be issued for ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and eight members of his former government.
Investigative magistrate Carmen Lamela issued the ruling on Thursday at the request of prosecutors who are pursuing a criminal case stemming from the declaration of secession the Parliament of Catalonia made Friday. The eight are Oriol Junqueras (Deputy First Minister, economy), Jordi Turull (spokesman), Raul Romeva (foreign affairs), Josep Rull (territory), Meritxell Borrás (public administration), Carles Mundó (justice), Dolors Bassa (work & social affairs), Joaquin Form (interior).
Earlier, the prosecutor’s office requested the jailing of Catalonian Vice-President Oriol Junqueras and seven other officials charged with rebellion, sedition and embezzlement of public funds, while the probe is ongoing, La Vanguardia reported. The prosecutor also asked the judge to issue a European arrest warrant for former leader Carles Puigdemont while also requesting that counselor Santi Vila, who resigned from government before Catalonia declared independence, be released on bail of €50,000.
Having fled to Brussels to escape rebellion charges and perhaps a lengthy prison sentence, Catalan (ex?) leader Carles Puigdemont, who quietly fled Catalonia over the past few days, held a press conference at the Brussels Press Club. Puigdemont said that the Catalan government sees the upcoming regional elections, called after the imposition of Article 155, as a “democratic challenge” and will accept the results.
In a multi-lingual, rambling speech, Puigdemont – who appears to have almost capitulated in his crusade against Madrid – said he would respect the results of the snap election called by Madrid in response to the declaration of independence by the province’s parliament. He then called on the Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy to say if he would do the same. Puigdemont also reiterated his support for democracy and peaceful resistance to Madrid’s pressure on Catalonia, and said he arrived in the Belgian capital to put the issue of Catalan independence “in the heart” of the European Union.
Confirming that beggars can at least pretend to be choosers, Puigdemont said that “I want a clear commitment from the State, will you respect the results or not?”
Update (0920ET): A Spanish government spokesman has responded to Puigdemont’s address, saying that “Spain will not comment on comments by Puigdemont who is out of a job.”
* * *
As we detailed earlier, in a pre-record message this morning, Catalan separtist leader Carles Puigdemont urged Catalans to peacefully oppose Spain’s formal takeover of the region’s affairs.
Puigdemont said the activation of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution was illegitimate and called on Catalans to show “patience, perseverance” and faith in the future, and urged “democratic opposition” against Spanish government orders to sack his administration and dismiss the regional parliament.
As The Spain Report notes, he announced he Catalans must “continue defending” their new republic “with a sense of civic responsibility,” adding “our will is to continue working to guarantee our democratic mandate”.
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.
* * *
H/t reader Squodgy:
Civil War…exactly as planned.”
* * *
A dramatic rollercoaster of a day for Catalonia and Spain is ending ominously, with the Catalan president Puigdemont announcing that he would let the region’s parliament decide the fate of the Catalan declaration of independence from Spain, capping off a day of furious reversals. The announcement follows a dramatic reversal from the Catalan leader who until just a few hours ago, was expected to announce that he’d call an early election in the region to avoid Spain’s takeover of the Catalan government. In the last moment he decided against it, saying there were no guarantees from the Spanish government it would be implemented while facing rebellion from his separatist allies at home; as a result he has washed his hands and decided to leave a decision on independence to his parliament.
Puigdemont made the announcement before a scheduled appearance before the Catalan Parliament on Thursday evening. According to the NYT, he said he made the decision after he had failed to secure a commitment from the central government that it would not take control of the region if he called early elections.
It didn’t take much for Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to turn from hero to villain for the local separatists.
Shortly after news hit that Puigdemont would not be declaring independence but would instead seek new elections, some time around Dec. 30, Catalan separatists revelled against his plan to draw back from declaring independence as Spanish authorities finalize plans to oust his insurgent administration. A crowd gathered in the square in front of the Catalan government palace chanted “traitoers” and “Attention, PdeCat, patience is over.”
Just hours after Puigdemont snubbed Madrid, canceling his visit to The Senate to discuss their imposition of Article 155, Catalan Deputy First Minister Oriol Junqueras told AP that the Spanish government had left Catalonia “no other option” but to proclaim a new republic.
* * *
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy left the nation breathless when he announced the steps he wants to take to crush the separatist movement in the prosperous Catalonia region.
Rajoy called on Spain’s Senate on Saturday to trigger a previously untapped section of the constitution that allows the central government to temporarily intervene in the running of a region if its leaders have broken the law.
Activating the constitutional authority granted by Article 155 is Madrid’s boldest response so far to avowals from Catalonia’s leaders to declare independence based on an Oct. 1 referendum that a court has judged as illegal.
Independence would be “horrific” and amount to “financial suicide,” said Spain’s Economy Minister. But financial suicide for whom?
H/t reader Squodgy.
* * *