[Referendum in Catalonia, 1 October 2017]: President Puigdemont: ‘It is the Parliament’s duty to proceed on the application of Article 155 against Catalonia’ / Catalan Parliament declares independence

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details 26.10.17
Publication Date 26/10/2017
Content Type

For full information in ESO on the Catalan independence referendum, 1 October 2017 click here.

+ The days leading up to the referendum
+ The result and immediate aftermath of the referendum
+ The reaction in the EU Institutions to the referendum
+ Commentary features concerning the referendum
+ Declaration of independence, 10 October 2017
+ The economic impact for Spain and Catalonia
+ The wider separatist debate in Europe

An independence referendum was held by the Catalan government in the Spanish region / country of Catalonia on the 1 October 2017. The holding of the referendum was opposed by the Spanish government and had been declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

Catalan officials claimed that results of the referendum had shown 90% of the 2.3 million Catalans who voted were in favour of independence. Catalonia had 5.3 million registered voters. Turnout was 43%. The main groups opposing independence had recommended to their supporters not to take part in the referendum.

In the evening of the 1 October 2017 Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont declared that Catalonia had 'earned the right to be an independent state'.

On the 10 October 2017 that pro-independence parties in the Catalan parliament and the Catalan government signed a declaration of independence. The document constituted 'the Catalan republic as an independent state', but did not include a clear date on when this would be official.

Speaking in the Catalan parliament, the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, leader of the Junts pel Si (Together for Yes), said Catalans had won the right to be independent but suspended the formal declaration of statehood to seek dialogue with the Spanish government and, hopefully, the EU.

Inés Arrimadas, leader of the opposition party Ciutadans (Citizens) in Catalonia said 'This has been the chronicle of a foretold coup, of a coup to democracy, to common sense. And above all, a coup against a common project called Spain and EU'.

The Catalan branch of the Spanish ruling party, the People's Party (PP), Xavier García Albiol, criticised the speech and said that the Spanish government in Madrid under Mariano Rajoy would never allow a secession.

The Spanish government called a special cabinet meeting for the 11 October 2017 to discuss the situation. Prime Minister Rajoy briefed the Spanish Parliament later in the day.

He said he had requested the Catalan government to clear up whether independence had been declared, in which case he would activate a constitutional provision giving the central government power under Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to temporarily take over Catalonia’s internal affairs. An answer must be received from the Catalan government by the 16 October 2017 (later extended to the 19 October 2017).

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont proposed on the 11 October 2017 that two representatives from both the Catalan and Spanish governments agree upon a mediator for the ongoing political crisis.

In a letter delivered to the Spanish government on the 16 October 2016 Carles Puigdemont again called for dialogue but did not explictly answer the question posed by Madrid on the 11 October 2017.

Following a preliminary suspension on the 7 September 2017, the Constitutional Court of Spain formally decided on the 17 October 2017 that the referendum law adopted by the Catalan parliament on the 6 September 2017 was unconstitutional, and devoid of any binding legal force.

Following the response from the President of the Regional Government of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont on both the 16 and 19 October 2017, to the official demand sent to him by the Government of Spain, the Government Spokesperson, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, made a statement in the Lower House of Parliament in Madrid on the 19 October 2017.

The Spanish Government would convene a Cabinet meeting on the 21 October 2017 to propose a series of measures under the framework of Article 155 of the Constitution — which allowed 'all measures necessary to compel' a region to abide by the law. These measures would be sent to the Senate for approval.

Catalan News and other news sources reported Carles Puigdemont, Catalan president, as saying in response 'If the Spanish government insists on blocking dialogue and continuing repression, the Catalan parliament may proceed to vote on the formal declaration of independence'.

Following the Cabinet meeting on the 21 October 2017 the Spanish Government activated Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. Amongst the emergency measures suggested were the removal of all the current members of the Catalan government and to call for elections to take place in Catalonia within six months. For the measures to be implemented the Spanish Senate (upper house of the Spanish Parliament) would need to approve them. The plan was for them to come into operation on the 28 October 2017.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said 'The autonomy of Catalonia is not being suspended ... The people who have put it in risk are being suspended'.

Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in Barcelona against the proposal to impose direct rule from Madrid and calling for the release of two pro-independence activists being held in custody.

Carles Puigdemont said that the activation of Article 155 was 'the worst attack on the institutions and the people of Catalonia since the decrees of the military dictator Francisco Franco'.

The Catalan government called for a plenary session of the Catalan parliament on the 26-27 October 2017 to debate 'the liquidation of our self-government'. Pro-independence forces wanted the debate to end with a vote and a possible declaration of independence of Catalonia from Spain.

The event would coincide in time with the Spanish Senate debating and voting on the Spanish Government proposal to activate Article 155 and instigate emergency control measures. The Spanish Senate offered Carles Puigdemont the opportunity to appear before it to present his case.

In the event, the 26 October 2017 became a crunch date in the dispute as both the Catalan Parliament and the Spanish Senate held key meetings. Would Catalan President Carles Puigdemont make an independence declaration or call for an election in Catalonia?[Following the suspension of the Catalan government's political autonomy by the Spanish government at the end of October 2017 the existing hyperlinks to the Catalan Government's website were broken. Other hyperlinks in this ESO record continue to work].

Official Statement by the Carles Puigdemont, Catalan President on the 26 October 2017 on the approval of Article 155 by the Spanish Government. He said that he had initially decided to defuse the tension with the Spanish Government by dissolving the Catalan Parliament and call for fresh elections in Catalonia. However, he claimed, that he had not received sufficient guarantees (including the withdrawal of a threat to impose direct rule) from Madrid to allow this course of action to be taken.

In a major step the Catalan Parliament passed a resolution declaring independence from Spain on the 27 October 2017. The declaration said 'We hereby constitute the Catalan Republic as an independent, sovereign, legal, democratic, socially-conscious state'. The resolution was passed by 70 votes, with ten against and 2 abstentions. A further 55 members of the Parliament walked out as a protest and did not register a vote.

The Spanish senate discussed and voted in favour of triggering Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution suspending Catalonia's autonomy in line with the Government's recommendation on the 27 October 2017. Following this and the dramatic developments in Barcelona the Spanish Government dissolved the Catalan Parliament and called elections in Catalonia on the 21 December 2017. It also dismissed Carles Puigdemont, Catalan President and his government. Catalonia's police director and chief were also dismissed.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted 'For EU nothing changes. Spain remains our only interlocutor. I hope the Spanish government favours force of argument, not argument of force'.

A demonstration by hundreds of thousands of Catalans and other Spanish citizens who opposed independence for Catalonia took place in Barcelona on the 29 October 2017.

Source Link http://www.catalangovernment.eu/pres_gov/government/en/news/303862/president-puigdemont-parliaments-duty-proceed-application-article-155-catalonia.html
Related Links
Spain: Government: News, 27.10.17: Regional Parliament of Catalonia has approved 'a criminal action', says Mariano Rajoy http://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/presidente/news/Paginas/2017/20171027_corridorsuh.aspx
El País, 28.10.17: Spanish PM removes Catalan regional premier from post, calls December 21 polls https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/10/28/inenglish/1509171087_827308.html
Catalan News, 27.10.17: Thousands take to the streets to celebrate independence declaration http://www.catalannews.com/politics/item/thousands-take-to-the-streets-to-celebrate-independence-declaration-2
The Local.es, 28.10.17: 'Independent' Catalonia wakes up under Madrid's control https://www.thelocal.es/20171028/independent-catalonia-wakes-up-under-madrids-control
Politico, 26-27.10.17: Catalan leader accuses Madrid of derailing last-minute compromise https://www.politico.eu/article/catalonia-independence-leader-accuses-madrid-of-derailing-last-minute-compromise/
EUObserver, 27.10.17: Madrid and Barcelona on collision course https://euobserver.com/beyond-brussels/139672
EurActiv, 27.10.17: Catalonia on uncertain footing as elections ruled out http://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/news/catalonia-on-uncertain-footing-as-elections-ruled-out/
Deutsche Welle, 26.10.17: Catalonia's Carles Puigdemont: No snap regional election to be held http://p.dw.com/p/2mXea
The Guardian, 27.10.17: Spain poised to strip Catalan government of powers over independence push https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/26/catalonia-crisis-deepens-president-carles-puigdemont-rules-out-snap-election
Politico, 27.10.17: Rajoy says ‘no alternative’ to direct rule over Catalonia ahead of vote https://www.politico.eu/article/mariano-rajoy-spain-says-no-alternative-to-direct-rule-over-catalonia-ahead-of-vote/
Euro|Topics: Debates, October 2017: Showdown in the Catalonia conflict http://www.eurotopics.net/en/188135/showdown-in-the-catalonia-conflict
Politico, 27.10.17: Catalan parliament votes for independence https://www.politico.eu/article/catalan-parliament-votes-for-independence/
El País, 27.10.17: [Editorial]: Is Catalonia independent? https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/10/27/inenglish/1509117264_660083.html
Catalan News, 27.10.17: Catalan Parliament declares independence http://www.catalannews.com/politics/item/catalan-parliament-declares-independence
Spain: Government: News, 27.10.17: 'There is no choice; all we can do - and must do - is apply the law for the very purpose of enforcing the law', says Mariano Rajoy http://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/presidente/news/Paginas/2017/27102017_upperhparliament.aspx
EurActiv, 27.10.17: Catalan parliament defies Madrid, declares independence http://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/catalan-parliament-defies-madrid-declares-independence/
UK: GOV.UK: Prime Minister's Office: Press Release, 27.10.17: Statement on UDI made by Catalan regional parliament: 27 October 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-on-udi-made-by-catalan-regional-parliament-27-october-2017
The Conversation, 27.10.17: Catalonia crisis: Spain enters unchartered territory following Madrid move to end autonomy https://theconversation.com/catalonia-crisis-spain-enters-unchartered-territory-following-madrid-move-to-end-autonomy-86489
The Conversation, 26.10.17: Catalonia crisis shows Spain’s constitution is no longer fit for purpose https://theconversation.com/catalonia-crisis-shows-spains-constitution-is-no-longer-fit-for-purpose-86281
Spain: Government: News, 27.10.17: Mariano Rajoy announces dismissal of Carles Puigdemont and his regional government and calls regional elections in Catalonia on 21 December http://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/presidente/news/Paginas/2017/20171027_cataloniaelectio.aspx
Catalonia: Government of Catalonia: Statement, 28.10.17: President Puigdemont: 'We will continue to work to build a free country' http://www.catalangovernment.eu/pres_gov/government/en/news/303890/president-puigdemont-will-continue-work-build-free-country.html
Catalan News, 29.10.17: 300,000 rally in Barcelona to reject the independence declaration http://www.catalannews.com/society-science/item/300000-rally-in-barcelona-to-reject-the-independence-declaration
BBC News, 29.10.17: Catalonia independence: Huge Barcelona pro-Spain rally http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41794087
Politico, 29.10.17: 7 key Catalan crisis questions https://www.politico.eu/article/catalonia-independence-7-key-catalan-crisis-questions/
El País, 26.10.17: As it happened | Catalan premier rejects regional elections and paves way for Article 155 https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/10/26/inenglish/1509015415_232297.html

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