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Article 155 triggered: Rajoy moves to dismiss Catalunya government
SPAIN has activated Article 155 of the Constitution and Catalunya's regional president Carles Puigdemont is likely to lose his job in an unprecedented move that is likely to cause backlash in the north-eastern federal State.
The Catalunya Left Republicans (ERC) calls the triggering of Article 155, which will strip the region of all its devolved powers, a "coup d'état".
Rajoy has announced his intention to sack key members of the Catalunya regional government and to call a fresh regional election in under six months – in the meantime, its Parliament is likely to be dissolved and the roles of all its ministries will be taken over by the State.
The Article 155 provisions have not been confirmed as the move has to be voted on in the Senate next Friday, October 27th.
Rajoy has not confirmed whether his main rival parties, the PSOE and Ciudadanos, have agreed with his decisions, which include a new regional election in Catalunya, probably on January 28, although Ciudadanos' leader Albert Rivera has let slip that he and Rajoy decided the date when they met in the Moncloa, the official presidential residence, on Wednesday.
Representatives from the Moncloa have presented an 11-page document to the media to explain the government's motives for applying Article 155.
They include Catalunya's "systematic and rebellious disobedience" in the face of the Constitutional Court's "reiterated requirements", a situation which is "gravely affecting the general interest" in Spain.
The document also stresses that an independent Catalunya would be 30% poorer.
Reactions from Catalunya include PDeCat's "this stinks of Franco's régime" and describing the situation as "the worst attack in centuries", and ERC's having dubbed it a "coup d'état", with Catalunya deputy president referring to the situation as "totalitarianism".
Basque Country president, or lehendakari, Íñigo Urkullu, says activating Article 155 and dismissing Catalunya's government is "an extreme and disproportionate measure".
“It blows up the bridges,” Urkullu said on Twitter.
“The regional government of Catalunya has our support in seeking a constructive future.”
Rajoy insisted, however, that he had "not suspended the autonomy or the self-governance of Catalunya" but rather that he had taken steps to remove "the people who have put that self-governance outside of the law".
In the last half-hour, the Spanish government has said Catalunya's regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra – who will now come under State control – would be personally and financially liable as well as criminally responsible if they do not follow orders given by the Spanish government.
Also, the bosses of regional television and radio stations, TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio, could be replaced and the two media channels managed by the State to ensure "truthful, respectful and balanced" political reporting.
Telecommunications, digital and IT services, and finances are expected to be handled by the government of Spain, according to media sources in the region.
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