Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Madrid to Suspend Catalonia's Government, Call Regional Elections

Madrid to Suspend Catalonia's Government, Call Regional Elections

Saturday, 21 October, 2017 - 12:15
A woman gestures as others wave the ''estelada'' or Catalonia independence flags during a protest in Barcelona, Spain, Sept. 21, 2017. AP photo

Spain's government said Saturday that it will move to suspend Catalonia's separatist government and call fresh elections within six months in a bid to stop its leaders to break away from Spain.

Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, said his government had no choice after Catalonia's separatist government acted in a way that was "unilateral, contrary to the law and seeking confrontation" in holding a banned independence referendum.

He said his government had taken this unprecedented decision to restore the law, make sure regional institutions were neutral, and to guarantee public services and economic activity as well as preserve the civil rights of all citizens.

The measures must now be approved by Spain's upper house, the Senate, where a vote is scheduled for Oct. 27.

Rajoy's government is activating a previously untapped constitutional article to take control of Catalonia.

The move is aimed at blocking the independence movement that has gained pace since the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on separating Catalonia from Spain.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Spain's Constitutional Court said the court's website has been affected by a cyberattack of unknown origin.

The attack on Saturday came as social media accounts linked to the Anonymous hacktivist group had launched a campaign to "free Catalonia."

The spokeswoman said it only affected the court's website and no internal information was compromised. She requested anonymity in line with internal rules.

Editor Picks