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News > Spain

Spain PM Sanchez Threatens to Suspend Autonomy of Catalonia

  • March at the second anniversary of the October 1st pro-independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 1, 2019.

    March at the second anniversary of the October 1st pro-independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 1, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 October 2019

Catalans have recalled the referendum which declared their country independent on Oct. 1, 2017.

Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday that his government has the powers to suspend the autonomy of Catalonia through the application of article 155 of the constitution.


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Such a decision could be implemented if the Catalan autonomous government is "out of law", he said, although he also added that he does not want to "reach that extreme."

His statements occurred on the day when Catalans celebrated the anniversary of the referendum through which their country declared its independence from Spain on October 1, 2017.

At that time, the Spanish government, chaired by the conservative politician Mariano Rajoy, responded to the pro-independence movement by decreeing the temporary suspension of Catalonia's autonomy.

To proceed in such way, the Spanish government applied the constitution's article 155, which obliges autonomous communities to comply with Spanish laws in case their actions involve a "serious attack" against Spain's "general interest."

"Autonomous communities" are a form of political division which the 1978 constitution created so as to provide some level of self-government to different nationalities.

Currently, Spain has 17 autonomous communities, among which are the Basque country, Catalonia and other territories that have aspired to gain independence for centuries.

Besides warning pro-independence activists not to "play with fire," PM Sanchez condemned the Catalan protests held after the arrest of seven members of the Defense Committees of the Republic (CDR), an organization which supports the freedom of Catalan political prisoners.

Despite tacit threats steeming from Madrid, the Catalan regional president Quim Torra starred on Thuesday a public event in honor of the 2017 referendum and reaffirmed his commitment to move "without excuses" towards the creation of the "Catalan Republic".

In Barcelona, the anniversary was also celebrated with demonstrations whereby people demanded the release of twelve pro-independence leaders who were accused of rebellion and face up to 25 years in prison.

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