Protesters wave pro-independence Catalan Estelada flags during a demonstration in Barcelona, Catalonia, on October 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Authorities in the regional government of Catalonia have vowed to appeal the application of Article 155 in the Constitutional Court, which allows Madrid to wrest back control of the rich region and to suspend its autonomy.
According to regional spokesman Jordi Turull on Tuesday, the government of the autonomous region plans to appeal Madrid’s decision, announced on Saturday, to invoke the Article 155, which can, upon application, strip Catalonia of its key autonomous powers and allows the central government to impose direct rule over the wealthy region.
“Moreover, we will submit two lawsuits to the Supreme Court to invalidate the decision of the Council of Ministers,” Turull said, adding that the region would use “all internal opportunities” and “all legal possibilities” to legally counter Madrid.
“We do not exclude the option of international jurisdiction,” he said.
has been in turmoil since the separatist government in Catalonia held a controversial referendum on independence on October 1 in open defiance of Madrid. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has already claimed that 90 percent of the voters in the contentious plebiscite had backed secession, but the turnout had been put at only 43 percent.
On October 19, Puigdemont signed a symbolic declaration of independence but suspended it shortly afterward and called for talks with the central government on the fate of the region. He also refused to renounce independence.
Madrid argues that invoking Article 155 is a result of Catalan leaders’ refusal to clarify their stance on independence.
Catalonia, for its part, says it is confident that regional officials will not follow the order. The region’s separatist parties have threatened to launch a campaign of mass civil disobedience in response to what they call Madrid’s assault on Catalan institutions.
Firefighters, teachers and students have threatened to stage strikes and protests if the Spanish government forces early parliamentary elections.
It would be the first time in Spain’s four decades of democracy that Madrid will have invoked the constitution to effectively sack a regional government and call new elections.
Catalonia’s population of over 7.5 million intensely defends its own language and culture.
The currently-run government in Catalonia administers its own law enforcement, education and healthcare, but local press reports indicate that the Spanish prime minister is contemplating seizing control of the region’s police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra.
Many EU leaders have warned against the ramifications of Catalonia’s independence, whose threat has already unsettled the euro and hurt confidence in the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy.