The Catalan parliament voted by a margin of 70 to 10 to secede from the Spanish Republic. The move comes in after the Rajoy leadership in Spain has threatened to strip the local government of all its autonomy and establish direct rule from Madrid.
The crisis began on October 1st as the Catalonia government refused to stop a referendum to become an independent after it was declared unconstitutional by the Spanish Supreme Court.
Chaos ensued as the national police force raided polling stations and destroyed ballots. Nevertheless, the official results were 92% in favor of independence and 8% against, but with only a turnout of 43%.
Polls before the referendum have also shown that independence is not very popular among Catalonians. A June-July poll showed that 49% opposed leaving Spain while only 41% were in favor.
Exceptional measures need to be adopted when there are no other ways to go back to normality
– Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy
The Spanish PM urged the senate to approve his request to initiate Article 155 which would have Madrid dissolve the Catalonian government and hold new elections.
In a tweet posted shortly after the result was announced, the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, said: “I appeal for all Spaniards to stay calm. The rule of law will restore legality in Catalonia.”
Carlos Carrizosa of Ciutadans described Friday as “a sad day and a blow to democracy”.