Catalan Parliament Votes To Declare Independence From Spain

Catalan separatist legislators have passed a motion to establish a new republic independent of Spain, in a vote boycotted by opposition members.

In Madrid, Spain’s Senate is meeting and is expected to vote to remove the region’s autonomy and subject it to direct rule from the Spanish Government.

The independence motion was passed in the 135-member assembly with 70 votes in favour, 10 against and 2 blank ballots, the assembly’s speaker said.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont left the chamber to shouts of “President!”

Lawmakers from the Socialist Party, the People’s Party (PP) and Ciudadanos had left the chamber before the vote in protest.

After the vote, those that remained in the chamber for the vote sang the Catalan anthem.

A huge crowd watched the session on giant screens and burst into celebration and popped champagne when the vote was carried.

Centenares de personas celebran la proclamación de independencia de Cataluña gritando y descorchando cava @govern @JuntsPelSi #pleparlament — Guillem Andrés (@Guillem_Andres) October 27, 2017
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for calm in a tweet posted minutes after declaration.

“I ask for calm from all Spaniards. The rule of law will restore legality in Catalonia,” Rajoy wrote.

Spain’s Senate was due to approve Article 155, the law that allowing the central government to take over the autonomous region.

“Exceptional measures should only be adopted when no other remedy is possible,” Rajoy said in an address to the Senate.

“In my opinion there is no alternative. The only thing that can be done and should be done is to accept and comply with the law.”

The Catalan leadership was ignoring the law and making a mockery of democracy, he said.

“We are facing a challenge unprecedented in our recent history,” said Rajoy, who has staked out an uncompromising position against Catalonia’s campaign to break away from Spain.

Rajoy has called a Cabinet meeting this evening.

Since the October 1 referendum, there has been an escalating standoff between Barcelona and Madrid over what could happen next.

The Catalan Parliament called on other countries and institutions to recognise it the region as a new nation.

It also said it wanted to open talks with Madrid to collaborate on setting up the new republic.

“It is not going to be easy, it is not going to be free, it is not going to change in a day. But there is no alternative to a process towards the Catalan Republic,” lawmaker Marta Rovira of the Junts pel Si pro-independence alliance said in a debate leading to the vote.