Catalonia’s fight to become an independent country from Spain has resulted in the Spanish government threatening to invoke Article 155.
Article 155 gives the Spanish government the power to have direct rule over Catalonia. The Spanish government gave Carles Puigdemont, the leader of the Catalonia region, until the morning of 19 October to renounce the referendum. Yet he has failed to do so, and now the Spanish government wants to take action.
WHY DOES CATALONIA WANT INDEPENDENCE?
In the north east of Spain, Catalonia is home to Barcelona. The region has its own language and is a popular tourist destination. Its population is 7.5 million people. For the past 40 years Catalonia has been autonomous, meaning its regional government was able to make some decisions on the way it was run.
However, some people still believed that it did not have enough freedom from Spain. Over the past five years the Spanish Prime Minister refused a referendum happening, claiming it’s against the unity of Spain.
Then, in 2015, politicians in the Catalan region who support the referendum won the election. They promised that they would work on ensuring a referendum that Spain would have to agree with.
THE REFERENDUM OUTCOME
On October 1 2017 Catalonia held its independence referendum, much to the annoyance of Spanish officials. The Spanish government sent armed guards to the area in order to prevent it from happening. They stole ballot boxes and papers from polling stations, and in some cases even used violence.
Despite this use of force to deter people, the result showed that 90% of the voters wanted Catalonian independence. Although, the turnout for the referendum was a mere 43%.
Puigdemont’s announcement for Catalonia’s independence was made on October 9, but was then immediately suspended in order to have further discussions with the Spanish government.
Now the Spanish government want to take away Catalonia’s freedom. However, Puigdemont does not want to renounce the referendum result, as he is adamant for its independence. He is waiting to open an official dialogue with Spain.
Protesters fill the streets of both the Catalonian region and Spain, vying for its independence, which Spain does not want to give.