Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday, Mariano Rajoy stopped short of dissolving the region's parliament but put forward plans for elections.
The Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, called the measures a "de facto coup d'etat". "It is an authoritarian coup inside a member state of the European Union," she said, adding that Mr. Rajoy intended to "put an end to a democratically elected government".
Spanish law dictates that elections must be held within six months of Article 155 being triggered, but Mr. Rajoy said it was imperative that the vote be held much sooner.
Spain Moves to Seize Control of Catalan Government
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked lawmakers to grant him unprecedented power to remove the leaders of Catalonia and temporarily control the region from Madrid, a forceful move aimed at bringing the separatist movement to heel.
The prime minister will seek to convene regional elections within six months to bring in new leadership and put an end to Catalan leaders’ repeated defiance of the central government.During a press conference, Mr. Rajoy demurred when asked how the central government would ensure that Mr. Puigdemont and his 13 cabinet members would obey the order.
“This is a real coup d’etat,” Arnau Casadevall, a 27-year-old school receptionist, said at the demonstration, which Barcelona police estimated was attended by 450,000 protesters. “I have no intention to stop fighting until Catalonia is free.”
One of the targets of Mr. Rajoy’s proposed measures is Catalonia’s police force, a prized symbol of regional power. The 17,000-strong regional police force, known as the Mossos D’Esquadra, resisted Madrid’s orders to halt the referendum on independence earlier this month. A judge seized the passport of the Mossos chief earlier this week amid a sedition probe. The regional force has said the investigation is based on false accusations.
WSJ Repeats Lie
The Wall Street Journal repeated this frequently stated lie "A majority of Catalonia’s 7.5 million inhabitants don’t support independence, recent polls show."
Of course, the Journal did not show any poll. The allegedly "recent" poll that does show a majority against independence was taken in July.
The most recent poll is the vote itself.
90% of those voting opted for independence. And 770,000 votes were stolen by Rajoy. If one assigns a high percentage of those votes to "yes" an outright majority voted for independence even if a huge majority of those not voting wanted to remain.
That's the math. Instead, the WSJ feeds the world BS on "recent polls".
Pro-Independence Demonstrations Erupt
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has asked the Spanish Senate for the power to sack the Catalan government. Following the announcement, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday evening to protest at Rajoy's move.
They also called for the release of two activists, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, who are in jail awaiting possible sedition charges.
The left-wing Podemos slammed Rajoy's announcement and vowed to push the prime minister and his Popular Party out of power."We are in shock about the suspension of democracy in Catalonia," said Pablo Echenique, of Podemos.
I pinged my friend Pater Tenebrarunm at the Acting Man blog with a simple question for which I already knew the answer: What's the Libertarian position? Here's is Pater's reply:
As libertarians we should always support secession, for a number of reasons:
The smaller the territories governments rule over, the less power they have.
The more territories and governments people can choose from, the less tyrannical government policies will be, as people will find it easier to vote with their feet.
Competition among governments is a good thing for citizens. One reason why the EU has become such an evil organization since it expanded its remit from being a trade union to become a political entity trying to centralize power.
The idea of secession will eventually lead to the total abolition of government. After all, if a territory can secede, why not a city? Why not a block within a city? And lastly, why should not individuals also be able to secede? Incidentally, this was an argument Rothbard made in support of secession. He basically said: "We are told anarchy is bad but governments and nation states exist in a state of anarchy vs. each other. Why is that not bad? And if that is not bad, how come getting rid of government altogether is considered bad?"
I have empirical support for this idea as well. Where is economic freedom the greatest, and which countries are therefore the by far most prosperous? Well, how about Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra, all of which are tiny political territories. Some of them are almost twice as rich (in output per capita) than the so-called "developed world". What unites them are "laissez-faire" governments, low taxes, almost no licensing requirements, low tariffs or no tariffs at all, and so on. Oh, and none of them "throw their weight around on the world stage" or threaten any of their neighbors militarily.
Mish Position: No One Can Own You
Many of my readers back Spain, citing the rule of law.
But rule of law once allowed slavery, despite a US Declaration of Independence that stated "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
A rule of law also once held that black counted as 3/5ths of a person for determining representation in Congress although blacks could not vote.
Other readers noted the radical socialist positions of some of Catalonia's leaders. So what?
People either have a right to self-determination or not.
In this case, the government of Spain has acted in a manner that tells the people of Catalonia, "Whether you like it or not, we own you. You cannot leave. If you try, we will jail you."
In essence, Spain is enforcing slavery on 90% of the population that decided to leave. If California or Texas voted to leave the United States I would say, go for it.
Test of Tyranny
Reader Mark pinged me with this accurate assessment moments ago.
"The Catalans will be forced to vote and vote and vote again at the point of a gun until they get the right answer. This is what mainstream media calls democracy."
Some call this move of force by Rajoy a test of democracy. What a joke. It's a test of tyranny by the government of Spain over the right of people in Catalonia to decide their own fate.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock