Spanish vice president labels independence process ‘fake’
Sáenz de Santamaría dismisses pro-independence leadership as 'fanatical' and tells Senate that Article 155 has 'guaranteed public services'
Spanish vice president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, called the Catalan independence process “fake” on Monday in her report to the Senate on the application of Article 155. With only days until the December 21 election, Sáenz de Santamaría accused independence leaders of an “almost religious fanaticism” that made some Catalans think they were living “in an independent republic when those governing them knew this was impossible,” she said.
In her defense of Article 155, the constitutional clause allowing the Spanish government to impose direct rule on Catalonia, Sáenz de Santamaría said there was evidence that using Article 155 to protect the rights of the Catalans was “an unavoidable need.” “The true independence roadmap was breaking social harmony, dividing the public and weakening society with the aim of taking unlimited power,” she said of independence leaders.
“Article 155 has managed to avoid the deep weakening effect that the independence movement was causing"
Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría · Spanish vice president
“Exceptional situation demanded an extraordinary solution”
According to the vice president, who is the official appointed under Article 155 to take over the powers of the Catalan president, the state authorities had no choice but to accept their “obligation to the law and politics” and apply Article 155, because the “exceptional situation demanded an extraordinary solution.” Sáenz de Santamaría went on to defend the application of Article 155, claiming it had “guaranteed public services.”
Among the most recent measures applied under the article was last week’s closure of the Catalan government’s network of foreign delegations to promote Catalonia abroad. According to the vice president, the delegations “cost more than 10 million euros while whole hospital floors were being closed down.” Meanwhile, Sáenz de Santamaría defended Friday’s decision to nullify the Catalan tax office, saying it “put the confidential details of all taxpayers at risk” and lacked “legitimacy”.
“Article 155 has managed to avoid the deep weakening effect that the independence movement was causing in Catalonia and it shows the strength of the rule of law,” said the vice president, who insisted that her government was showing “rigor, responsibility, and respect for the institutional tradition in Catalonia and for the freedom of all Catalans.”
Catalan parties dismiss speech as "electioneering”
Yet, Sáenz de Santamaría’s speech was dismissed as "electioneering" by the PDeCAT, ERC and Catalonia in Common political parties. It is the second day in a row that Sáenz de Santamaría has come in for criticism. Yesterday, the Together for Catalonia ticket announced it is filing a lawsuit against her for perverting the course of justice, after her comments boasting about leaving pro-independence forces in Catalonia “headless”, in reference to the imprisoning and legal pursuit of the independence leadership.