Constitutional court endorses suspension of Catalan self-rule in 2017

By rejecting appeals against direct rule after independence bid, ruling sets precedent on extent of Madrid's powers to overrule regional parliaments

Exterior image of the Constitutional Court
Exterior image of the Constitutional Court / Tània Tàpia

ACN | Barcelona

July 2, 2019 05:15 PM

Spain's Constitutional Court has unanimously rejected appeals from the Catalan Parliament and the leftwing Podemos party, and endorsed the Senate's approval of the Spanish government's request to impose direct rule on Catalonia in October 2017.

In an unprecedented move, the Spanish government - at the time under the conservative People's Party - invoked article 155 of the constitution to suspend Catalonia's self-rule on October 27, after its parliament had passed a declaration of independence.

Some 50 MPs from the Podemos party challenged the suspension of Catalonia's self-rule, the dismissal of its government and the imposition of direct rule from Madrid in December 2017, with the Catalan Parliament following suit in January 2018. 

The court ruling sets a new legal precedent in the application of article 155 and the extent to which the Spanish government can intervene in an autonomous community, including the power to overrule a regional parliament.

The head of the unionist Ciudadanos party (Cs), Albert Rivera, was quick to react to the ruling, saying on Twitter that direct rule had "suffocated the separatist coup and guaranteed the rights of all citizens," and he added: "155 means freedom."