Catalonia declares independence as Spain prepares to impose direct rule



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

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.

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

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. CREDIT:INDEPENDENT


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