Spain fires Catalonia’s govern­ment

Prime min­is­ter acts af­ter area de­clares its in­de­pen­dence

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

USA TO­DAY

Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy said Fri­day that Spain is fir­ing the Cata­lan govern­ment as part of emer­gency mea­sures the Sen­ate ap­proved af­ter the re­gion de­clared in­de­pen­dence Fri­day.

Ra­joy said he’s dis­solv­ing the Cata­lan Par­lia­ment and call­ing for a new re­gional elec­tion on Dec. 21. He spoke af­ter a spe­cial Cabi­net meet­ing to dis­cuss what mea­sures to take in the wake of the Cata­lan Par­lia­ment’s an­nounce­ment se­ces­sion.

The fir­ing of re­gional lead­ers is likely to meet with fierce op­po­si­tion in Catalonia, where thou­sands have been cel­e­brat­ing the in­de­pen­dence dec­la­ra­tion.

Sep­a­ratist Cata­lan law­mak­ers in the re­gional Par­lia­ment cel­e­brated ear­lier Fri­day as the vote was ap­proved with 70 votes in fa­vor of in­de­pen­dence, 10 against and 2 blank. Most op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers left the cham­ber in protest mo­ments be­fore the vote.

The Cata­lan mo­tion called for the start of an in­de­pen­dence process that in­cludes draft­ing new top laws and open­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions “on equal foot­ing ” with Span­ish au­thor­i­ties to es­tab­lish of co­op­er­a­tion.

The fed­eral govern­ment in Madrid op­poses the in­de­pen­dence bid. Spain’s Con­sti­tu­tional Court de­clared il­le­gal a ref­er­en­dum ear­lier this month in which the Cata­lan govern­ment said 90 per­cent of vot­ers backed in­de­pen­dence. Hun­dreds of peo­ple were in­jured in clashes with po­lice as the ref­er­en­dum took place.

A spokesman with Spain’s pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice told The As­so­ci­ated Press that the coun­try’s top pros­e­cu­tor will seek rebellion charges for the politi­cians re­spon­si­ble for the in­de­pen­dence vote. Un­der Span­ish crim­i­nal law, rebellion can be pun­ished with up to 25 years in prison.

The U.S. State Depart­ment said Fri­day that it sup­ports Spain in its ef­forts to stop Catalonia’s in­de­pen­dence bid.

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