Spain: Catalan parliament votes to declare independence, Madrid imposes direct rule
The Catalan parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, with the motion approved with 70 votes in favour, 10 against and two abstentions in the 135-seat chamber. Thousands of people have reportedly gathered in front of the Catalonian parliament in Barcelona in support of the declaration. Following the vote, the senate in Madrid triggered Article 155 of the constitution which allows the central government to take control of Catalonian institutions, including the police. Article 155 will also give Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy the authority to dismiss Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet.
There is an increased threat of civil unrest in Catalonia, with demonstrations by pro-independence supporters likely as Madrid moves to assume control of the region. Counter-protests by those opposed to Catalonia’s secession are also likely, as seen on multiple occasions in the aftermath of the 1 October Catalan referendum in which 90 percent of those who voted favoured independence. Previous protests have been accompanied by strikes, which have affected a range of sectors, including maritime and transport. Clashes with security forces are also likely, as some independence campaigners have threatened mass civil disobedience if Madrid imposes direct rule.
PGI will continue to monitor the situation via the Risk Portal.
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