Catalonia SHOCKINGLY Declares Independence. Will Spain Falls Into Civil War?

Catalonia has declared independence from Spain, ahead of an expected vote in the Senate which will see Madrid seize the region’s autonomous powers.

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The vote in the regional parliament followed a tense week of last-ditch negotiations between Madrid and Barecelona.

Seventy Catalan deputies voted for independence, with 10 opposed and two blank ballot slips.

Rounds of applause broke out in the chamber as members of the parliament hugged and shook hands.

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Opposition lawmakers had walked out of the chamber ahead of Friday’s vote in protest.

Thousands of people watched the voting process and the counting live on big screens outside Catalonia’s parliament in Barcelona, and cheered and danced after the motion was passed.

The motion calls for beginning an independence process that includes drafting Catalonia’s new top laws and opening negotiations “on equal footing” with Spanish authorities to establish co-operation.

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On Thursday Catalan president Carles Puigdemont had ruled out calling a snap election, thought to have been a potential way of defusing tension with the central government.

Mr Puigdemont said he had not received sufficient guarantees that Madrid would hold off on its attempts to take control of the region.

Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, tweeted immediately after the vote calling for calm. He said the rule of law would be restored in Catalonia.

The expected Senate vote on Friday, which would give Madrid the authority to govern Catalonia, would be the first direct intervention by central authorities in the affairs of one of the country’s 17 autonomous areas.

It would give Mr Rajoy the power to sack Mr Puigdemont and his cabinet among other measures.

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The crisis stems from an independence referendum, held earlier this month, that Spanish judges had declared unconstitutional.

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Before it went ahead Madrid authorities confiscated ballot papers and closed polling stations, with clashes erupting in the streets.

An overwhelming majority of those who did vote favoured secession, but turnout was low and there is a substantial section of the Catalan population that wants to remain a part of Spain.

 

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