Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will convene his cabinet meeting in an extraordinary session on Saturday to begin procedures that will lead to a planned intervention in the Spanish constitution on autonomy in Catalonia, the Spanish government announced on Thursday.
“The government of Spain will continue with the procedures provided for in Article 155 of the Constitution to restore legality in Catalonia’s self-government,” the government said in a statement.
The announcement was made minutes after the leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, threatened to submit a formal declaration of independence to the regional parliament.
“If the central government persists in preventing dialogue and continuing the repression, the Catalonian Parliament may, if it deems it appropriate, to vote on the formal declaration of independence that did not vote on October 10,” Puigdemont warned.
In a letter sent to Rajoy 10 minutes before the end of a deadline to clarify whether or not he had proclaimed independence, in order to restore “the changed constitutional order,” Puigdemont implicitly admitted that the separation was not formally declared.
“The government of Spain found at 10am this morning … the refusal of the leader of the Catalan government to meet the request …,” the statement said in Madrid.
For his part, Puigdemont accused Rajoy in his letter of refusing to talk and not to reverse “repression,” criticizing the recent arrest of leaders of two pro-independence social organizations.
“In my letter of Monday I proposed to hold a meeting that has not yet been granted … the repression has increased,” Puigdemont wrote, recalling that “the decision to implement Article 155 is up to the central government.”
“Despite all these efforts and our desire for dialogue, that the only response is the suspension of autonomy indicates that one is not aware of the problem and one does not want to talk,” he said, adding to the government’s response.
The central government, meanwhile, has assured that the measures it will approve on Saturday and that will have to be countersigned in the Senate will later be negotiated with diverse political formations and that they seek “to protect the general interest of the Spaniards and to restore the constitutional order”.