SPAIN is set to take direct control of Catalunya after Carles Puigdemont threatened to hold a formal vote on independence.
The Madrid government will suspend the region’s autonomy from Saturday after Catalan leader Puigdemont’s wrote to prime minister Mariano Rajoy informing him of his decision.
Puigdemont slammed the government’s ‘repression’ which had ‘increased’ following the arrests of two prominent separatists.
“Despite our efforts and willingness to talk, that the only response is the suspension of autonomy indicates you are not aware of the problem and you don’t want to talk,” Puigdemont wrote to Rajoy.
“If the Spanish government persists in impeding dialogue and continuing the repression, the Catalan parliament will proceed to vote on a formal declaration of independence.”
An emergency cabinet meeting of the Spanish government will be held on Saturday ‘to approve measures…to protect the interests of the Spanish people’.
Madrid had suggested it would hold off triggering Article 155 to suspend autonomy if Catalunya held fresh regional elections, but that move was ruled out by the Catalan government.
The October 1 referendum and its aftermath have plunged Spain into its worst political crisis since a failed military coup in 1981.
More than 900 people were injured in this month’s vote after heavy-handed police actions.
Puigdemont has claimed 90% of the 2.4 million Catalans who cast their ballot voted for independence.