Spanish Senate prepares to strip Catalan leader of all powers 

EPA-EFE/RUBEN MORENO GARCIA

Catalonian President Carles Puigdemont giving a statement in Barcelona, Spain, after the Extraordinary Cabinet Meeting, 21 October 2017.

Spanish Senate prepares to strip Catalan leader of all powers 


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Regional leader of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont will lose all powers and will stop receiving a salary once the Senate approves article 155 which imposes direct central government rule on the region, the Deputy Prime Minister said on Monday.

A single representative may be temporarily instated by Madrid to govern the region after the Senate approves direct rule, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said in a radio interview. The Senate is expected to approve the measures on Friday.

Last Saturday, Catalonia’s leaders reiterated they would not accept direct rule imposed on the region by the Spanish government, as a political crisis that has rattled the economy and raised fears of prolonged unrest showed no signs of easing.

The Spanish government has revealed plans to remove the leaders of Catalonia and to take control of the region until early elections can be held, as it tries to stifle a push for Catalan independence.

The move, which needs to be approved by lawmakers, would grant Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy unprecedented powers in his bid to halt Catalan authorities from declaring a split from Spain.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who made a symbolic declaration of independence on Oct. 10 after a referendum to secede, called Rajoy’s moves the “worst attacks against the people of Catalonia” since Spain’s military dictatorship.

It is the first time since Spain’s return to democracy that the central government has used its powers to seize control of a regional administration.

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