News ID: 202814
Published: 0133 GMT October 21, 2017

Spain's Rajoy says will sack Catalan government, call regional elections (video)

Spain's Rajoy says will sack Catalan government, call regional elections (video)
JUAN CARLOS HIDALGO/Pool/REUTERS
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy heads a special cabinet meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, on October 21, 2017.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday said he would curb the powers of the parliament of Catalonia, sack its government and call an election within six months in a bid to thwart a drive by the autonomous region to breakaway from Spain.

Rajoy said his government had taken this unprecedented decision to restore the law, make sure regional institutions were neutral, and to guarantee public services and economic activity as well as preserve the civil rights of all citizens.

The measures must now be approved by Spain’s upper house, the Senate, where a vote is scheduled for Oct. 27.

King Felipe VI on Friday blasted what he said was an "unacceptable secession attempt" and said the crisis sparked by the region's banned October 1 independence referendum must be resolved "through legitimate democratic institutions", AFP reported.

"We do not want to give up that which we have built together," he pleaded.

Madrid enjoys constitutional powers to wrest back control of rebellious regions in one of the Western world's most decentralized nations, but it has never used them.

Autonomy is a hugely sensitive issue in semi-autonomous Catalonia, which saw its powers taken away under Spain's military dictatorship. Home to 7.5 million people, the region fiercely defends its own language and culture.

AFP NEWS AGENCY PUBLISHED ON OCT 21, 2017 Spain's government kicks off a crisis cabinet meeting as it prepares to seize powers from Catalonia's separatist government in a bid to stop the north eastern region's independence drive.
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