Impact on Issues

? ➂  towards  The way Spain will practically implement the take over of Catalan administrations and institutions is critical (critical uncertainty)

➚➚➚ ➂ Large peaceful civil resistance and disobedience across Catalonia for Independence

➚➚➚ ➂  Civil Unrest in Catalonia against Spain

 ➁ Secessions and deep changes of nations within the EU… and globally

Update 15:45 – 27 Oct 2017 – The Parliament of Catalonia declares independence through a vote on related resolution (70 votes in favour, 10 against and 2 blank ballots, the remaining deputies abstained and had left the parliament, boycotting a vote they considered as illegal).

On 27 October 2017, Spain has obtained the Senate approval for the application of Art. 155 of the Spanish constitution against Catalonia and implementation of direct rule on Barcelona, thereby ending at least temporarily the autonomy of the region (vote results: 214 in favour, 47 against 1 abstention – Update 16:55 27 Oct 2015).

According to the decision taken by the President of the Spanish government Rajoy, Catalonia’s government will be “removed from office”, within six months, the new Spanish-backed authorities will dissolve the Catalan Parliament and early legislative elections will be called. Until then, the Catalan Parliament will be under “series of control measures”. In the meanwhile, all departments in Catalonia’s administration will be taken over by Madrid’s central power, including Catalonia’s police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, new institutions if believed useful could be created. The Catalan governmental media likewise will be under Madrid’s control.

On Thursday 26 October, Carlos Puigdemont, President of the Catalonia government, decided not to call for early elections, when many expected him to do so. He stated that the absence of guaranteed from Madrid, regarding deciding not to apply Art. 155 if he did call for elections, led him to this decision. It would seem that behind the scenes, the majority of the parties composing the pro-independence alliance, Junts pel Sí, were opposed to early elections and wanted to move on with independence, as stated by Vice President Oriol Junqueras.

As a result, as the Spanish Senate holds its session, the Catalan Parliament is also to gather (session meant to start at noon CET) to decide about the course of action to choose regarding Art. 155. The decision is likely to include a formal declaration of Independence, considering the composition of the Catalan parliament (72 seats potentially for independence against possibly 63 in the opposition thus potentially opposing independence). However, every individual vote will be crucial and surprise may also occur.

What may then happen?

It would seem that civil disobedience is to be expected that will try to prevent as much as possible Madrid to take over the Catalan administration.

Meetings have been held by pro-Independence Deputies all over Catalonia to explain to people what to expect, which implies that the mobilisation of people, if need be, has started. Spontaneous meetings seem also to have been held across Catalonia to reject the application of Art. 155 by Madrid.

The Catalan police force would appear to be divided between pro-independence and anti-independence forces. It is however likely that, considering belief in the chain of command, the Mossos d’Esquadra will not – except serious mistakes made by Madrid – at least that early in the process, act beyond passive resistance for independence.

Finally, the official language used, for example, by Carlos Puigdemont in its latest statement, has started to change: he specifically mentions that those “adding more tension” are  the “People’s Party”, and not anymore the Spanish government, which thus brings forward the spectre of Franco’s rule. This would tend to indicate an ideological escalation too.

Thus, what we may expect to see initially is a very large civil resistance and disobedience movement, however essentially non-violent, settling throughout Catalonia.

It is possible that this type of resistance would also take place even if the Catalan Parliament bowed to Madrid.

The way thus Madrid will implement the activated Art. 155 will be crucial in moving the country towards, this time, violent unrest, or on the contrary, in stabilising the situation.

Considering, however, the intransigency displayed so far by the Spanish Government of the People’s Party led by President Rajoy, we may fear a too heavy-handed Spanish application of Art. 155, thus further escalation.

Official Statement by the President on the approval of Article 155

In these last hours, before my authority to hold parliamentary elections expires as a result of the measures proposed by the Spanish government in the application of Article 155, I considered the possibility of exercising it and calling for an election.

Catalan VP says Spain ‘gives us no option’ but to secede

BARCELONA, Spain – Spanish authorities are leaving separatists in Catalonia with “no other option” but to push ahead with declaring independence for the wealthy northeastern region, its vice president said Wednesday. Spain has announced plans to fire Catalonia’s government and directly manage its affairs after it held an independence vote that was declared illegal by the country’s constitutional court.

Demoralised and divided – inside Catalonia’s police force

With the Spanish government ready to take over the running of Catalonia on Friday, the loyalty of the local police to Madrid or to the Catalan cause will be tested if they are ordered to drag their former political masters from office.

Speech by President of the Government following extraordinary meeting of Council of Ministers, Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Saturday 21 October 2017

Spain Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers, 21 October 2017 – Summary

ACUERDO EN RELACIÓN CON LAS MEDIDAS A QUE SE REFIERE EL ARTÍCULO 155 DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN –Full text – Official publication – application Art. 155 to Catalonia

About the author: Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the Director of The Red (Team) Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for national and international security issues. Her current focus is on Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Science, and Security. She teaches at Master level at SciencesPo-PSIA.

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