How Will Spain Seize Catalan Powers?

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Spain's Senate is due Friday to approve drastic measures allowing the central government to seize direct control of Catalonia as it tries to stop regional leaders from pressing ahead with independence.

What do the proposals entail?

- Catalan government -

Invoking the never-before-used article 155 of the constitution, designed to rein in rebel regions, the Spanish government has proposed to dismiss the entire Catalan regional executive, including president Carles Puigdemont and vice-president Oriol Junqueras.

They would be replaced by nominees from the central government. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says national ministries will take over for as long as this "exceptional situation" lasts.

The measures also seek power for Rajoy to call elections for a new regional parliament "in a maximum timeframe of six months from the Senate's approval."

They may also replace anyone working in a public entity, such as the region's broadcasters.

- Catalan police force -

Under the proposed measures, Catalonia's regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, would come under direct Madrid control.

Whoever is named to take the reins of the regional interior ministry will "give members of Catalonia's police -- the Mossos d'Esquadra -- direct instructions they will have to comply with", according to a government document setting out the plans.

If necessary, members of the Catalan force can also "be replaced by state security forces", according to the document.

- Finances -

Madrid had already seized control of wide areas of Catalan public spending in September, seeking in vain to stop the referendum.

It will now seek full control over the region's finances, including budgets and tax, to ensure that not a single euro of public money can be spent on efforts to break away.

- Telecommunications and media -

Regional "telecommunications and digital services" will also come under Madrid's governance, and the heads or employees of Catalan public media can be replaced.

The Spanish government wants to "guarantee the transmission of truthful, objective and balanced information, which respects political, social and cultural pluralism, and also the territorial balance."

This means Madrid will have a say in what is broadcast on popular Catalan media such as TV3 television.

Unions at TV3 have accused the channel of being biased in favor of independence, just as unions of the Spain-wide TVE news channel have accused it of being pro-Madrid.

- Regional parliament -

The measures would also see Madrid take control of the Catalan parliament, where pro-independence lawmakers have an absolute majority of 72 seats out of 135.

The Spanish government has not called for Carme Forcadell, the head of the Catalan parliament and a staunch independence supporter, to be replaced.

But it stipulates the regional parliament "won't be able to process initiatives that run counter" to the proposed measures.

In order to ensure this, the central government wants to appoint an entity that will ensure every single text being processed through parliament conforms to the measures.

Comments 1
Thumb tric.portugal 27 October 2017, 20:32

if necessary with tanks...