Article 155... a matter of words
ARTICLE 155 of the Spanish Constitution reads:
"If an autonomous community (region) does not fulfil the obligations that the Constitution and other laws impose, or acts in a way that gravely goes against the general interest of Spain, the Government, after summoning the president of the autonomous community or, if not answered, with the approval of the majority of the Senate, can adopt the necessary measures to oblige it to compulsorily fulfil such obligations to protect the aforementioned general interest."
The statement that the 'president of the region must be summoned to answer' first is, in fact, the only legal requirement remaining to allow the government to enforce this article.
Sr Puigdemont's vague and 'suspended' declaration has led the government to demand clarification beyond all doubt.
Sr Puigdemont actually said on Tuesday:
"The government (regional) and I propose that parliament suspends the effects of the declaration of independence so over the next weeks we can engage in a dialogue without which it is not possible to reach an agreed solution."
But after saying this, Sr Puigdemont and other pro-independence parties signed an 'informal' independence declaration on a letter headed with shield of Cataluña and reading 'Declaration of the representatives of Cataluña'.
The declaration says it 'constitutes the republic of Cataluña as an independent sovereign, legal, democratic and social state'.
The ambiguity between the two declarations is what the government seeks to clarify, especially as the declaration signed by pro-independence parties was regarded as 'informal' and is not signed - as would be required by the very law they approved (that was later branded illegal) - by the referendum voting commission.
If Sr Puigdemont makes the declaration 'formal' and stands by it, the government could immediately enforce Article 155 because the PP has a majority of seats in the Senate.