THE Vice- President of Cataluña, Oriol Junqueras, has declared that the actions of the Spanish Government have left the region with no choice but to push forward with independence.
The announcement follows the government’s decision to invoke article 155 of the constitution and impose direct rule on Cataluña. This means that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, along with his cabinet, will be removed from office immediately and new regional elections will be held.
Junqueras’s comments have led many to speculate that a unilateral declaration of independence could be made imminently.
The vice-president told national media sources that the Catalan authorities were “going to work towards building a republic because we understand that there is a democratic mandate to establish such a republic”.
During the referendum on October 1, almost 90 per cent of the turnout voted in support of independence, according to Catalan officials. However, more than 750,000 votes were lost when police forces confiscated the ballot boxes and only 43 per cent of those eligible turned out to vote.
It is believed many who disapproved with independence movement abstained from voting.
Just a few hours before Junqueras’ statement, Carles Puigdemont had refused an invitation to defend the Catalan independence movement before the Spanish senate. A spokesperson for the Catalan President revealed this was because the government had made it clear that they would strip the regional authorities of their powers regardless.
The senate will meet tomorrow (Friday) to vote on whether to support Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s decision to invoke article 155.
Media sources report that several Catalan cabinet members are pressing him to end the stand-off by calling regional elections, while others are pressuring him to start the process to make Cataluña an independent state.
The Catalan Parliament is scheduled to meet later today (Thursday) to discuss their next move.