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Unionists call on Spanish government to prepare for more direct rule of Catalonia

Ciudadanos party leader wants suspension of Catalan self-rule to return should Torra executive fail to comply with Constitution

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21 August 2018 01:03 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The main unionist party in Catalonia has called on the Spanish government to make the necessary preparations to reimpose direct rule on the country, after Catalan president Quim Torra talked on Friday of the need to “attack the State.”

On Wednesday, the party leader in Catalonia, Inés Arrimadas, called on Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, to begin the process to activate Article 155 of the Constitution, allowing direct rule to be imposed again.

Spain’s Senate approved the application of Article 155 and the suspension of Catalonia’s self-rule in October, following a declaration of independence in Parliament. Catalonia remained under control from Madrid until a new Catalan government was sworn in in June.

  • "[The Catalan government] has been attacking the state for some time"

    Albert Rivera · Ciutadans leader

Arrimadas asked the Spanish president to request Torra whether his government intends to comply with the Spanish law. Should the Catalan president's answer does not make clear he will abide by the legal framework, Arrimadas believes direct rule might be executed again. 

Pedro Sánchez's "allies"

On Tuesday, Ciutadans leader in the whole of Spain, Albert Rivera, had already made the same suggestion. 

Talking in a radio interview, Rivera thanked Torra for the sincerity of his comment but insisted that the Catalan government “has been attacking the state for some time.” The Cs leader went on to demand Sánchez “change allies” and join the “constitutionalist parties” like his own.

Sánchez’s socialist party ousted the former Popular Party executive in June after a motion of no confidence passed, in large part, thanks to the votes of Catalan pro-independence parties. “Puigdemont, Torra and Rufián [Esquerra MP] cannot set out the policy against the State,” said Rivera.

People's Party

The People's Party, which despite being in the opposition has an absolute majority in the Spanish Senate, has offered their MPs in this chamber to impose again direct rule. Last October, the then Spanish executive passed such measures, which only came into effect when the Senate approved them. 

The party spokesman in Barcelona, Alberto Fernández Díaz, said on Wednesday that direct rule is unavoidable. "Every day that goes by, with a [Spanish president] Pedro Sánchez weaker and the pro-independence movement encouraged, we are heading towards a forced need for a longer and more intense direct rule, without TV3 [Catalan public TV]."

Yet the party leader in Catalonia, Xavier García Albiol, said on Tuesday that it is not the moment to implement direct rule again yet. 

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  • Leader of the opposition Inés Arrimadas (by ACN)

  • Leader of the opposition Inés Arrimadas (by ACN)

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