Catalonia formally declared independence from Spain and immediately lost all autonomy

Catalonia formally declared independence from Spain and immediately lost all autonomy

The declaration of independence, though, will likely be short-lived as it is not recognised by Madrid or overseas, and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's central government is poised to take over Catalan political powers and finances.

Rajoy tweeted: "I ask for calm from all of the Spaniards".

As Catalonia's regional parliament declared independence, the mood in Barcelona was mixed - part festive, part fearful as the central government was poised to impose direct rule on the semi-autonomous region to stop its drive to break from Spain.

The vote was approved with 70 in favor of independence, 10 against and two blank ballots in Catalonia's 135-member parliament.

Rajoy said his government's first move would be to dismiss Puigdemont and his regional ministers if the Senate approves the Spanish government's use of Article 155 of the Constitution in a vote later Friday.

Some media reports say the Spanish cabinet to meet at 7:00 p.m. Friday on the application.

The Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona passed a motion Friday unilaterally establishing a new country. It seemed that there were people who were disillusioned, who had genuine grievances with the relationship of Catalonia to Spain and that were supporting the movement, but that had there been some negotiations, had some of those grievances been addressed, their support for the referendum would have waned.

Puigdemont has said the referendum was a mandate to declare independence and an opportunity for the Spanish government to negotiate Catalonia's future. So instead, Rajoy heeded those within his ruling party who believe that Catalonia should be taught a lesson - which only served to increase the numbers of those in pursuit of an impossible dream.

After a day of political drama the Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy said he will dissolve the Catalan parliament and announced regional elections will be held on December 21.

Downing Street released a statement backing the Spanish government's stance in the Catalonian independence crisis.

The independence move was opposed by all opposition lawmakers in the prosperous region. "And that's why Citizens won't let you ruin Catalonia", he said.

"Spain is living through a sad day", Rajoy said.

"We already had the attacks", she said, referring to the series of jihadist attacks in and around Barcelona that killed 16 people in August. "The unilateral declaration of independence won't protect us against Article 155, you will only make the majority of people suffer". The Catalan leader has been in intense talks with his party and other allies over the past few days, trying to decide on an outcome that would please all the disparate factions of the pro-independence movement.

Ms Hyslop said: "We understand and respect the position of the Catalan Government".

Puigdemont scrapped hopes of a possible end to the political deadlock on Thursday when he opted not to call an early election and halt the drift toward independence.

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