Catalonia Finally Declares Independence From Spain

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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The Catalonian parliament voted to declare independence from Spain Friday after the national government threatened to take control of the region.

At least 68 out of 82 members of parliament needed to back the resolution for it to be valid according to regional rules. The declaration passed in a 70-10 vote with two abstentions.

The vote was announced moments after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked the country’s senate for permission to remove Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and take full control of the region. Rajoy argued Puigdemont has refused to clarify Catalonia’s intentions in a timely manner.

“He was given the opportunity to clarify whether there had been a unilateral declaration of independence,” the prime minister said. “This is not a trifling matter. An answer was required and it wasn’t a difficult one: yes or no.”

Spain has previously called a new election in Catalonia for early next year to remove the current administration. The Spanish government will likely trigger Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to suspend Catalonia’s status as an autonomous region. The Catalan government would then have between 24 and 48 hours to reverse its course. If it chooses to not comply, Spain could enact direct rule over Catalonia.

Rajoy called for calmness and said rule of law will soon be restored in the region in a tweet moments after the vote.

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