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Saturday 28th
posted by Morning Star in World

Madrid hits back at independence declaration

SPAIN’S Senate authorised the suspension of Catalonia’s government yesterday after the region’s parliament voted to declare independence.

A government spokesman said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would enact direct rule powers immediately.

Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza’s office said he would seek sedition charges for Catalan leaders, including regional president Carles Puigdemont and vice-president Oriol Junqueras. He may also go after regional MPs and parliamentary officials.

Under Spanish law, treason carries a sentence of up to 25 years, although terms are shorter for non-violent rebellion.

The Senate vote in Madrid came just an hour after the 135-seat Catalan parliament in Barcelona voted by 70 to 10 to declare independence, with two blank ballots.

Several thousand pro-independence demonstrators, including hundreds of munic

ipal mayors, celebrated outside.

The pro-independence Together for the Yes party and the smaller left-wing CUP claimed a mandate from 90 per cent of voters in the October 1 independence referendum.

Spain’s Constitutional Court had ruled the vote illegal, and turnout was just 43 per cent, with national police sent to prevent the referendum from taking place.

MPs from the Citizens party and Socialists’ Party of Catalonia (PSC) — the regional wing of the main opposition party — boycotted the parliamentary vote in protest.

PSC spokeswoman Eva Granados accused regional leaders of trying to found an “intolerant and sectarian” new state that excludes those who oppose independence.

The European Union and United States, which opposed the referendum vote, said that nothing had changed.

The Citizens party is in a governing coalition with Mr Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party, while the Socialists are aligned with the government in opposing the secession attempt.

The Communist Party of Spain, while deploring the heavy-handed police crackdown on the referendum that left more than 1,000 people injured, has maintained its opposition to independence in favour of a return to the republic overthrown by fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1939.