The Spanish government has secured opposition support for dissolving Catalonia’s parliament and holding new elections there in January in its bid to defuse the regional government’s push for independence.
The Socialists, the main opposition, said on Friday they would back special measures to impose central rule on the region to thwart the secessionist-minded Catalan government and end a crisis that has unsettled the euro and hurt confidence in the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who wants opposition support to be able to present a united front in the crisis, has called an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday to pave the way for Madrid establishing central control in the region.
More from the BBC:
While the dissolution of Catalonia’s parliament and the holding of snap regional elections may appear to offer a way of diffusing today’s state of extreme tension, there are plenty of reasons to doubt that such a strategy would provide a clear exit from the crisis.
The far-left CUP has suggested that it would boycott any election imposed on the region. Other pro-independence forces might do the same. Massive street protests against any form of direct rule from Madrid can also be expected. And what are the potential consequences of forcing an election on Catalonia?
Mr Puigdemont has promised to call a formal vote on independence in Catalonia’s parliament if Article 155 is invoked. If such a declaration were approved, the pro-independence forces could style the ballot as the election of a constituent assembly for a new republic, the next stage laid down in the secessionists’ road map.
And from Bloomberg:
For Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his allies, the stakes are arguably even higher — two of his closest collaborators have been in jail since Monday, a National Court judge ruling that they might interfere with evidence if released. If they’re eventually convicted on charges of sedition, they face up to 15 years in jail.
A court in Lleida, Catalonia, on Friday ordered Spain’s Civil Guard to search the Catalan government’s data and communications centre for evidence that regional police officers co-ordinated their actions to allow the makeshift ballot to take place, in defiance of the Constitutional Court.
European Union leaders lined up on Thursday to back Rajoy, and the EU has made it clear that an independent Catalonia would fall out of the bloc, its companies shut out of European markets, and its banks cut off from funding by the European Central Bank. Blue-chip Catalan companies, such as CaixaBank and Gas Natural SDG, are already leading a flood of businesses uprooting for other parts of Spain to escape the potential disruption.