Independence declaration and direct rule set to clash

Catalan Parliament and Spanish Senate expected to hold contradictory votes at the same time

The plenary session of the Spanish Senate on Friday October 27, 2017 (by Tània Tàpia)
The plenary session of the Spanish Senate on Friday October 27, 2017 (by Tània Tàpia) / Guifré Jordan

Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

October 27, 2017 11:08 AM

Catalonia is set for yet another crucial day on Friday. The country has gone through several remarkable days in the past few years because of the independence roadmap. Yet this Friday seems different. The long-expected clash of wills between the Catalan and the Spanish authorities is set to take place on Friday.

The Spanish Senate is expected to ratify Mariano Rajoy’s measures to take control over Catalonia using Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. The Spanish cabinet is likely to meet immediately afterwards to enforce the specific measures, such as removing all of the Catalan government members from office. However, the Catalan Parliament is expected to declare independence at the same time. It is not yet known how the declaration will take place. On October 10 pro-independence lawmakers signed the declaration of independence but President Puigdemont suspended it in order to open a period for dialogue. It is not clear whether the declaration will be voted on, if the president will just lift the suspension or if someone will read the declaration.

Anything can happen after Thursday's twists

This is the forecast. Yet anything can happen this Friday, after the many twists on Thursday. After an intense day, Catalan president Carles Pugidemont ruled out calling a snap election, which would have been read as a sign of de-escalation, after he unsuccessfully tried to get "guarantees" from Madrid that early elections would stop the suspension of Catalonia's self-government. Puigdemont said that it is now up to the majority in the chamber to decide, thus putting a declaration of independence again on the table.

Thursday kicked off with the general feeling that the the main pro-independence officials were in agreement about the independence declaration. However at around 11am the first twist came: the ruling coalition lawmakers were informed that the president would give up and call a snap election in order to stop Article 155 from being triggered. He was expected to announce it at 1.30pm.

Puigdemont statement

Yet the statement was delayed several times. At 5pm, he finally appeared, but to everyone’s surprise, he ruled out calling Catalans to vote because he had no “guarantees” that Rajoy would stop Spain's plans. The alternative for Puigdemont is to declare independence, because on Saturday, Spain’s Official Gazette will publish the decision to implement Article 155, thus officially bringing it into effect, including Puigdemont's removal.