BARCELONA, Spain — Spain fired Catalonia’s regional government and dissolved its parliament on Friday after a Catalan declaration of independence that flouted the country’s constitution.
Lawmakers in the Catalan parliament voted to unilaterally declare independence, prompting the swift crackdown by the Spanish government, which also called an early election in the region.
Hours after Catalonia’s secession move, the Spanish Senate granted the government special constitutional powers to stop the wealthy region’s move toward independence.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government then called an urgent Cabinet meeting late Friday, after which Rajoy emerged to announce the emergency measures, including regional elections called for Dec. 21.
“We believe it is urgent to listen to Catalan citizens, to all of them, so that they can decide their future and nobody can act outside the law on their behalf,” Rajoy said.
“We never wanted to reach this situation, never,” he said.
In Barcelona, Catalonia’s regional capital, Rajoy’s announcement in a televised address was greeted with jeers and whistles of disapproval from crowds who had gathered at the gates of the government palace to celebrate their parliament’s moves toward independence.
“It’s not about suspending or meddling in the self-government [of Catalonia], but to return it to normality and legality as soon as possible,” Rajoy said… (Sure it’s not. – Ed.)