The prime minister also sacked the president of the autonomous region, Carles Puigdemont, and its cabinet.
The parties contesting the election include Puigdemont’s Catalan European Democratic party and the Catalan Republican Left, the party of ex-vice president Oriol Junqueras. Puigdemont, who is in Belgium, and several others from his government face the possibility of prosecution for rebellion and sedition. The anti-independence, centrist Citizens party, the Catalan Socialist party, En Comú Podem-Catalunya en Comú – a coalition of the anti-austerity Podemos party and various green and leftist groupings – and the local branch of Spain’s ruling conservative People’s Party are also on the ballot. Britain’s Guardian newspaper notes that unless those facing charges are convicted and barred from holding public office, they will be eligible to stand.
The Catalan ex-president called for peaceful “democratic opposition” to Madrid’s takeover, but the independence bid and Madrid’s reaction are seen as a formula for strife. The Guardian reports that activists had offered to form human chains around buildings to protect officials, and some of the region’s 200,000 civil servants have already said they will not accept orders from Madrid.
The orders provided an outline for a takeover approved by the Spanish senate on Oct 27, according to the newspaper, and Rajoy now faces the challenge of implementing it.
Worried about secessionist movements in their own countries, other European governments and Washington have mainly rallied behind Madrid.
#22353 Published: 11/15/2017