Spain: Prime Minister Rajoy’s government in Madrid is set to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution this weekend, after Catalan President Carles Puigdemont missed a final deadline for a decisive response on the independence question.
The separatist leader missed an initial deadline of Monday to decisively answer whether or not independence had been declared, insisting that “the declaration has been made but suspended”. This leaves Catalonia in a state of quasi-illegality, according to Spanish law.
Under Article 155, the central government in Madrid can impose certain measures that amount to direct rule of the autonomous regions, including – and most widely predicted to be the case – taking control of the Catalan regional police.
It’s believed that a number of regional security chiefs could be dismissed and replaced by loyalists from outside of Catalonia.
There is also the possibility for Rajoy’s government to order a snap election in Catalonia under Article 155, but this is unlikely given the inevitable outcome of a pro-independence supermajority in the Catalan parliament.
Questions remain over the status of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont – will he be dismissed, or permitted to remain in his post nominally? In theory, he and other Catalan separatist leaders who organised the illegal independence referendum could be arrested, but again the likelihood of this is low due to the diplomatic outrage that would undoubtedly ensue.
But for Rajoy, the days for dithering are diminishing rapidly. It’s time to act and act decisively. Any further concessions to the Soros-backed separatists will only offer false hope and fan the flames of discontent.
Some scenarios, regrettably, require an iron fist response, and the feral politics of the Catalan communists is definitely cause for a hard-line response. The question is; will Madrid finally step up to the mark?