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'The situation is exceptional and the consequences very serious': Rajoy asks Senate to remove Catalan government

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'The situation is exceptional and the consequences very serious': Rajoy asks Senate to remove Catalan government
File photo of Mariano Rajoy. Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP
10:52 CEST+02:00
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy appealed to Spain's Senate for the approval of article 155 measures to intervene in Catalonia's autonomy and remove its regional government.

"I ask your support for the agreement reached by the cabinet last Saturday. The situation is exceptional and the consequences very serious for many people," Rajoy said in his speech ahead of a vote Friday on approving the measures.

Rajoy called the region's secessionist push "a continuous process of anti-democratic decisions" that is "very serious, whatever you think or defend".

Madrid wants to use article 155 of Spain's constitution – designed to make rebelling regions fall back in line and uncharted territory in the country – to remove the Catalan executive as well as heads of authorities like local police and public service broadcasters.

The PM's speech followed a period in which he had formally asked Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont to clarify whether he had declared independence from Spain, after the Catalan leader's vague "suspension" of a declaration of independence on October 10th.

READ ALSO: Puigdemont says he has mandate for independence, but suspends declaration

"There are some things you can't play or create confusion with. Puigdemont did not clarify if he had declared independence, and he had chances to do so," the PM noted.

He also criticised Puigdemont for not coming to the Senate to argue his case:

"I would have come here to defend my position, even if I was in the minority".

Rajoy said he hoped for elections in Catalonia to be held "as soon as possible" if the move to remove its government is approved. It is now up to the Senate, where his PP holds a majority, to vote on the measures.

READ ALSO: How Spain could suspend Catalonia's autonomy

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