Just minutes after the Catalan government voted for Independence from Spain, with a former Decision of Independence likely to follow momentarily, over in Madrid wasted no time in responding, and moments ago, with 214 for and 47 against, voted to approve Article 155 of Spain’s 1978 Constitution, aka the Nuclear Option which has never been used before, suspending home rule in Catalonia, and giving Prime Minister Rajoy the power to oust the Catalan government.
What happens next?
Spain will promptly move to remove the Catalan president, suspend his ministers and assume authority over the region’s public media, police and finances, the only question is how, and what this process will look like.
Indeed, as Bloomberg reported earlier, Spanish politician Garcia Albiol tweeted that Spanish Prime-Minister Mariano Rajoy will restore democracy in Catalonia, adding that courts will reprimand the “plotters.” Furthermore, Spain’s El Pais reported that rebellion charges will likely be leveled soon at Catalans for Secession.
An angry Rajoy spoke to reporters in Madrid after the Catalan parliament declared independence and said that “the Catalan parliament has approved something that in the opinion of the great majority of people doesn’t just go against the law but is a criminal act because it supposes declaring something that is not possible which is the independence of Catalonia.”
He also said that he will address Spain at the end of the evening.
In terms of immediate next steps, there will be a Spanish Cabinet Meeting, which has been moved ahead to 5pm local time. Meanwhile, EU Council leader Donald Tusk has said that the Catalan vote “changes nothing for EU”, which means that as expected, Brussels will firmly support the Madrid government in whatever it decides to do.
After that, things may get delicate, especially if Spain sends in the proverbial cavalry.