In Latest Political "Coup", Catalan Parliament Votes To Secede From Spain
In the aftermath of last month's Brexit vote, there was an outpouring of concern in Europe that the British decision would embolden similar separatist movements across the continent. Earlier Wednesday, this is precisely what happened when Catalan nationalists voted to approve a plan to secede from Spain, defying the nation’s Constitutional Court and challenging acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is currently in political limbo as he struggles to form a government.
The decision was approved by 72 regional MPs out of 135. Ten MPs from the CSP group linked to Podemos, Partido Popular and Ciudadanos walked out of the assembly and the Socialists did not vote. A recent poll shows that 48% of the Catalan population currently supports independence compared with 43% against it.
The vote, symbolic as it may be, was one of defiance toward Madrid as Spain's Constitutional Court had in recent days prohibited the regional parliament in Barcelona from voting on it. As Ansa reports, the resolution was presented by the pro-secessionist groups Junts Pel Si and CUP. The anti-secessionist parties - PP, Ciudadanos and PSC - have spoken out against the ''illegality'' of the decision. PP parliamentary chief Xavier Garcia Albiol has said that the act is tantamount to a ''coup'' against the government in Madrid and warned that there will be a price to pay for it. The head of the Socialist party, Pedro Sanchez, said there can be no democracy without common rules, while Albert Rivera, the Catalan-born leader of liberals Ciudadanos, described it as a attack on Spanish democracy. They both have rejected supporting Rajoy’s candidacy to become premier again.
Catalan regional president and pro-secessionist Carles Puidgemont instead says that the position taken by the regional MPs is ''legitimate'' and has in recent months confirmed that the goal is to achieve an independent ''Catalan Republic'' by the end of 2017.