Catalonia independence: Spanish Prime Minister Dissolves Catalan parliament

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy says he is dissolving the Catalan parliament and calling regional elections over its push for independence.

Friday morning, the regional parliament in the Catalan region of Spain overwhelmingly voted for independence, throwing Spain into the biggest constitutional crisis in its 40-year democratic history.
Under Spanish national law, the vote has made secessionist parliamentarians vulnerable to arrest for sedition. 
Immediately following the vote, the Spanish parliament in Madrid voted to strip the Catalan regional government of its powers, invoking a never-before-used article of the constitution — Article 155 — which allows Madrid to dissolve the autonomy of a region if the unity of Spain is deemed at risk.
All of that means they have reached the moment the Iberian Peninsula has both anticipated and dreaded since a controversial referendum on Catalan independence was held on October 1: brinksmanship and deep uncertainty about the future.
Speaking on about the election, the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, said his cabinet had fired the regional president, Carles Puigdemont, and ordered regional elections to be held on 21 December.

The prime minister said the unprecedented imposition of direct rule on Catalonia was essential to "recover normality" in the region.
Mr Rajoy made the announcement following a frantic day of developments in the row over Catalan independence.
The Spanish Senate granted Mr Rajoy's government the constitutional power to suspend Catalan autonomy, and after a cabinet meeting Mr Rajoy spelled out what that would entail.
Promising "free, clean and legal" elections, he called the situation "sad", saying: "We never wanted to come to this."
Mr Rajoy also announced the sacking of the Catalan police chief.

After the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence, thousands took to the streets to celebrate.
Separatists say the move means they no longer fall under Spanish jurisdiction.
But the Spanish Constitutional Court is likely to declare it illegal, while the EU, the US, the UK, Germany and France all expressed support for Spanish unity.
With excerpts from BBC

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