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catalonia independence referendum

Catalonia has voted in a closely watched regional election, called by Spain following a controversial independence referendum.

The snap election pits Catalan pro-independence parties against those who want the region to remain a semi-autonomous part of the country.

One exit poll suggested that separatist parties would win a majority.

It said the separatist Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the unionist Citizens (Cs) were neck and neck in the race to become the biggest party in the new parliament.

Image source Wikipedia

Spain Suspends Catalonia’s Autonomy and Takes Charge of Its Government

Catalonia Declares Independence from Spain

Spain dismissed the separatist Catalan government in October after declaring the referendum to be illegal.

El Pais newspaper said on its front page that one million undecided voters could have the last word on December 21.

Polling stations opened at 09:00 local time and closed at 20:00, with the first official results expected shortly afterwards.

At 18:00 local time turnout was 68%, the Catalan authorities said – about 5% higher than the corresponding figure for the 2015 regional election.

Most results should have emerged by 22:00 local time.

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Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will visit Catalonia for the first time since he imposed direct rule on the north-eastern region two weeks ago.

Mariano Rajoy has called regional elections for December and will address a campaign meeting of his center-right party.

On November 11, some 750,000 people protested in Barcelona against the detention of Catalan leaders.

Several Catalan officials were held after the regional government made a unilateral declaration of independence.

Image source Flickr

Catalonia Independence: Thousands Protest Against Detention of Eight Ministers

Catalonia Independence: Madrid Calls on Carles Puigdemont to Participate in Elections

The Catalan crisis was sparked by a disputed referendum held in the region in October, which had been barred by the Spanish courts.


According to Catalan officials, the independence campaign won 92% of the vote, from a turnout of 43%. Many of those who were against independence did not cast votes, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the referendum.

Spain’s government responded to the referendum by dissolving the Catalan parliament, imposing direct rule, and calling a snap regional election on December 21.

Since the crackdown by Madrid, Catalonia’s sacked President Carles Puigdemont has gone into self-imposed exile in Belgium, and his top allies have been prosecuted.

Catalonia’s regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, while the Spanish parliament has approved direct rule over the region.

Catalan lawmakers easily approved the move amid an opposition boycott.

PM Mariano Rajoy had told senators direct rule was needed to return “law, democracy and stability” to Catalonia.

The crisis began on October 1, when Catalonia held a controversial referendum on independence.

The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part, 90% were in favor of independence. However, Spain’s Constitutional Court had ruled the vote illegal.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Independence: Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy Unveils Plans to Remove Separatist Leaders

Catalonia Independence: Spain Prepared to Suspend Catalan Autonomy

Catalonia Independence: King Felipe VI of Spain Says Referendum Organizers Put Themselves Outside the Law

A motion declaring independence was approved on Friday with 70 in favor, 10 against, and two abstentions in the 135-seat chamber.

The measure calls for the transfer of legal powers from Spain to an independent Catalonia.

However, the Constitutional Court is likely to declare it illegal, while the US, UK, Germany and France all expressed support for Spanish unity.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU “doesn’t need any more cracks, more splits”.

Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont has called for supporters to “maintain the momentum” in a peaceful manner.

Crowds have been celebrating the declaration of independence and Spanish flags have been removed from some regional government buildings in Catalonia.

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Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy has unveiled plans to remove Catalonia’s leaders and take control of the separatist region.

Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting on October 21, PM Mariano Rajoy stopped short of dissolving Catalonia’s parliament but put forward plans for elections in the region.

The measures must now be approved by Spain’s Senate in the next few days.

The plans come almost three weeks after Catalonia held a disputed independence referendum on October 1.

Catalonia’s leader Carles Puigdemont has ignored pleas from the national government to withdraw the independence bid.

Mariano Rajoy said the government had no choice but to push to impose direct rule, arguing that the Catalan government’s actions were “contrary to the law and seeking confrontation”.

This will be via Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, which allows it to impose direct rule in a crisis on any of the country’s semi-autonomous regions.

Spain’s Senate will vote within the week, PM Mariano Rajoy said at a press conference. He said it was “not our wish, it was not our intention” to trigger the article.

Image source Flickr

Catalonia Independence: Spain Prepared to Suspend Catalan Autonomy

Catalonia Independence: Separatist Leaders Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart Detained

Catalonia Signs Declaration of Independence from Spain, But Proposes to Suspend Vote Result

Spanish law dictates that elections must be held within six months of Article 155 being triggered, but the prime minister said it was imperative that the vote be held much sooner.

Catalonia’s regional government held a referendum to ask residents of the region if they wanted to break away from Spain.

Of the 43% of Catalans said to have taken part, 90% voted in favor of independence. However, many anti-independence supporters boycotted the ballot, arguing it was not valid.

Carles Puigdemont and other regional leaders then signed a declaration of independence, but immediately suspended it in order to allow for talks.

He then defied two deadlines set by the national government to clarify Catalonia’s position, and the government announced it would pursue Article 155.

Article 155 of the Spanish constitution allows the national government to impose direct rule over Spain’s semi-autonomous regions in the event of a crisis. It has never before been invoked in democratic Spain.

The article says that if a region’s government “acts in a way that seriously threatens the general interest of Spain”, Madrid can “take necessary measures to oblige it forcibly to comply”.

Catalonia currently enjoys significant autonomy from Spain, including control over its own policing, education and healthcare.

Mariano Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party (PP) holds a majority in the Senate, meaning the proposals are likely to pass.

Catalonia accounts for about a fifth of Spain’s economic output, and supporters of independence say the region contributes too much to the national economy.

Opponents argue that Catalonia is stronger as a part of Spain, and that breaking away would lead to economic disaster for the country as a whole.

Nearly 1,200 companies based in Catalonia have re-registered in other parts of Spain since the referendum, hoping to minimize instability, according to the AFP.

This week, Spain cut its national growth forecast for 2018 from 2.6% to 2.3%, blaming uncertainty over the future of Catalan independence.

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Two key members of the Catalan independence movement, Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart, have been held without bail while they are under investigation for sedition.

They were leading figures in the October 1 independence vote, which the Madrid government regards as illegal.

Their detention led to protests overnight, with more expected across Catalonia on October 17.

Jordi Sánchez, who heads the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), a pro-independence organization, and Jordi Cuixart, leader of Omnium Cultural, appeared before the High Court in Madrid on October 16.

The two men are being investigated over a protest on September 20 in which a crowd blocked Civil Guard officers inside a building in Barcelona, Catalonia’s regional capital.

Image source Wikipedia

Catalonia Signs Declaration of Independence from Spain, But Proposes to Suspend Vote Result

Catalonia Independence: Mossos d’Esquadra Major Josep Lluis Trapero In Madrid Court on Suspicion of Sedition

Catalonia Independence Referendum: Carles Puigdemont Says Spanish Region Won Right to Statehood

Following the October 1 referendum, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont signed a declaration of independence, but halted its implementation to allow negotiations.

Carles Puigdemont has called for talks to take place over the next two months.

However, the Spanish government has warned that Catalonia must revoke the declaration or face direct rule from Madrid.

Carles Puigdemont has also angered Madrid by refusing to clarify whether or not he declared independence last week.

The Catalan president, who has been given until October 19 to clarify his position, hit out at the government on Twitter following news of Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart’s detention.

“Spain jails Catalonia’s civil society leaders for organizing peaceful demonstrations. Sadly, we have political prisoners again,” he wrote.

In a video recorded before his court appearance and released on his Twitter account after his detention, Jordi Cuixart instructs separatists to “never lose hope because the people of Catalonia have earned their future”.

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In a rare TV address, King Felipe VI of Spain said Catalonia referendum’s organizers put themselves “outside the law”.

The king said the situation in Spain was “extremely serious”, calling for unity.

Hundreds of thousands of people across Catalonia have been protesting over Spanish police violence during the vote, during which nearly 900 people were hurt.

Catalonia Independence Referendum: Carles Puigdemont Says Spanish Region Won Right to Statehood

Catalonia Independence Referendum Begins Amid Police Crackdown

According to local medical officials, during the vote, 33 police officers were also injured.

In his TV address to the nation, King Felipe said the Catalan leaders who organized the referendum showed their “disrespect to the powers of the state”.

“They have broken the democratic principles of the rule of law.”

“Today, the Catalan society is fractured,” the king said, warning that the poll could put at risk the economy of the wealthy north-eastern region and the whole of Spain.

However, King Felipe stressed that Spain “will overcome difficult times”.

Spain’s central government has described the Catalan referendum as illegal.

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Catalonia’s independence referendum has begun despite Spanish police’s attempt to prevent the vote from taking place.

The Spanish government has pledged to stop a vote that was declared illegal by Spain’s constitutional court.

The interior ministry says police officers began seizing ballot papers and boxes as the polls opened.

Riot police blocked potential voters from entering a polling station in the regional capital Barcelona.

Thousands of separatist supporters occupied schools and other buildings that have been designated as voting centers ahead of the polls opening.

Many of those inside are parents and their children, who remained in the buildings after the end of lessons on September 29 and bedded down in sleeping bags on gym mats.

In some areas, farmers positioned tractors on roads and in front of polling station doors, and school gates were taken away to make it harder for the authorities to seal buildings off.

Police insisted polling stations would not be allowed to open, and that those inside would be evicted.

On October 1, dozens of national police vehicles left their base in the port of Barcelona as officers were deployed.

Referendum organizers have called for peaceful resistance to any police action.

Catalan government officials have predicted a big turnout.

The ballot papers contain just one question: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?” There are two boxes: Yes or No.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Independence: Thousands Gather for Artur Mas’ Trial

Catalonia Independence: Artur Mas Steps Down as Regional President

Catalonia Independence: Spanish Government Challenges Secession Bid

Ahead of the polls opening, the Catalan government said voters could use any polling station if their designated voting place was shut.

The referendum has been declared illegal by Spain’s constitutional court, and thousands of extra police officers have been sent to the region.

The Spanish government has put policing in Catalonia under central control and ordered the regional force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, to help enforce the ban.

In a show of force ahead of the poll, Spanish authorities have seized voting materials, imposed fines on top Catalan officials and temporarily detained dozens of politicians.

Police have also occupied the regional government’s telecommunications center.

The head of the Catalan police has urged officers to avoid using force.

Catalonia, a wealthy region of 7.5 million people in north-eastern Spain, has its own language and culture.

It also has a high degree of autonomy, but is not recognized as a separate nation under the Spanish constitution.

Pressure for a vote on self-determination has grown over the past five years.

However, Spanish unionists argue Catalonia already enjoys broad autonomy within Spain, along with other regions like the Basque Country and Galicia.

PM Mariano Rajoy says the vote goes against the constitution, which refers to “the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards”.

Central government spokesman Iñigo Mendez de Vigo accused the Catalan government of being inflexible and one-sided, but it is a charge that Catalan nationalists throw back at Madrid itself.

Demonstrations by independence campaigners have been largely peaceful.

On the eve of the vote, thousands of demonstrators calling for Spanish unity held rallies in cities across the country, including in the Catalan capital Barcelona.

They waved Spanish flags and carried banners reading “Catalonia is Spain”.