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Why Spain moves to remove secessionist Catalan leaders – Envoy


People hold Catalan pro-independence Estelada flags and Basque Country flags during a demonstration in the northern Spain Basque village of Beasain on October 22, 2017 during a protest action organized by “Gure esku dago” (It’s in our hands) association supporting the right for a referendum on self determination in Catalonia. / AFP PHOTO / ANDER GILLENEA

The Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Marcelino Cabanas Ansorena has said the council of ministers in his country will propose to the Senate that measures be taken to guarantee compliance with constitutional obligations and the protection of the general interest by the proponents of independence for Catalonia.

Clarifying the current situation in his country yesterday in Abuja, Ansorena explained that constitutional jurisprudence established article 155 as a state guarantee, for the exceptional control of autonomous communities, in defence of general interest of the state.

According to him, “It is an extraordinary procedure, but not one that is exclusive to our country, as it is common in composite states, such as Germany, Austria, Italy and Portugal” adding, “Neither is it a completely new procedure, because it was activated in 1989 to request an autonomous community to comply with its tax obligations.”


But on that occasion, the envoy noted that the request was complied with and there was no need to adopt any additional measures.

Article 155 provides for a possible two-fold scenario for its application: in the event that an autonomous community does not comply with its constitutional and legal obligations, and in the event that it severely harms the general interests of Spain.

In the case of Catalonia, Ambassador Ansorena said both scenarios have occurred. “Catalonia’s leaders have not respected the legality underpinning our democracy, nor the general interests to which our laws respond. On the one hand, there has been reiterated disregard by Catalonian regional authorities of the constitutional and statutory order, and even of democratic rules, in their attempt to carry out their purported “pro-sovereignty process”.

The Spanish authorities believe this drift into pro-independence and the illegalities through which it has been expressed have had a grave impact on the political, economic, and social life of Catalonia, leading to a severe deterioration of the foundations of coexistence, social well-being and economic growth, and also causing increasing levels of uncertainty and distrust.

The envoy noted that the objective of the current action is to respond, with a set of measures, to the grievous actions of the leaders of Catalonia. He assured that the measures will be proportional to the actions undertaken within the “secessionist process”, and will be temporary and limited to a specific timeframe.

“They will also be gradual, as the intention is for them to be adapted to the situation. The goal of these measures, in any case, is to ensure that self-government operates in accordance with the principles and rules it is charged with respect to laid down procedures in the Spanish constitution and the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia–the instruments that provide a window to Catalonia’s self-government. To preserve this self-government is to protect Catalonia’s autonomy.”

The central government in Madrid is proposing Senate approval for the Spanish government to remove the president of the Generalitat from office, along with the vice-president and the consellers (regional ministers).

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