Catalan President to Call Snap Elections?
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Reports suggest President Puigdemont will announce them today for December at Catalan’s Palace of the Generalitat, his government’s headquarters – dissolving parliament ahead of them, preempting Madrid’s imposition of direct rule over the region on Friday.
His three options include declaring independence, declaring it and calling new elections, or calling new elections alone.
It appears he chose the latter option despite overwhelming public support and majority parliamentary backing for separating from Spain.
We won’t know until he states his intention Thursday afternoon local time. Mixed reports leave things unclear.
On Wednesday, pro-independence Together for Yes (JxSi) members called separation from Spain a legitimate act of self-defense when faced with likely losing self-rule.
Puigdemont won’t attend Madrid’s Thursday and Friday Senate session on invoking Article 155, imposing Spanish rule over the region, suspending its autonomy, saying:
“We will not waste time with those who have already decided to strip Catalonia of its self-government.”
Catalan parliamentarians will meet today to discuss the region’s fate. Vice President Oriol Junqueras said Madrid left the region with one option – to declare independence from Spain.
Ahead of Puigdemont’s announcement, huge pro-independence crowds massed at Placa Universitat in Barcelona.
On Wednesday, Catalonia’s Girona City Council declared Spanish King Felipe VI persona non grata for his harsh criticism of regional independence.
The Council also declared Madrid’s local representative Enric Millo persona non grata.
An El Periodico opinion poll showed results of snap elections would likely be similar to 2015 results, leading to pro-independence parties forming a government.
Puigdemont reportedly is living alone in his official residence, his wife and daughters away in Romania.
Madrid declined to comment until he states his intentions. Ruling Populist Party Senator Javier Arenas said calling snap elections won’t stop Spanish senators from imposing direct rule over the region.
Opposition Socialist party leaders called for halting Madrid intervention if Catalan elections observe Spanish law.
Leading Catalan broadsheet La Vanguardia cited unnamed government sources, saying Puigdemont will dissolve parliament and call snap elections before yearend.
In an 11th hour letter to Spain’s Senate, Puigdemont said Madrid is trying to solve the crisis by “creat(ing) an even more extraordinary serious situation by taking away the political autonomy of Catalonia.”
According to Bloomberg News, Puigdemont was scheduled to make a 1:30PM statement local time, “delayed an hour and then suspended, with signs of dissent among the separatists.”
“Two Catalan lawmakers quit Puigdemont’s party, saying they disagreed with the decision to call a vote while protesters gathered outside his office shouting ‘traitor.’ “
As of 3:00PM local time, it appears Puigdemont will call snap elections alone, not declare independence, at odds with most coalition government MPs.
More on this as developments warrant.
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