Catalonia Declares Independence as Spanish Senate Votes to Retake Control

Oct 27, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In a series of escalations Friday, the parliament of Catalonia declared independence from Spain, followed shortly by a vote in the Spanish senate to grant the government in Madrid unprecedented powers to rein in the breakaway region.

“We constitute the Catalan Republic, as an independent and sovereign country, under the rule of law,” the resolution to secede read.

Catalan legislators took the vote in secret so that no individuals could be singled out for punishment by the central government. Of the 135-member body, 70 voted for secession, 10 voted against, two abstained, and the rest chose not to cast a ballot or did not show up for the session, highlighting how controversial breaking away from the rest of Spain is among Catalans. The vote to secede forced the hand of the region’s president, Carles Puigdemont, who had been seeking a compromise that would have won Catalonia concessions from Madrid while avoiding the outright creation of a separate nation.

In Barcelona, supporters of secession began making plans to form human shields around key government buildings to prevent troops from the central government from seizing back control of the region. According to the New York Times, large crowds gathered outside the regional parliament building as the resolution was debated, chanting “Spanish occupiers!” and “Leave Catalonia!”

Shortly after the Catalan declaration, senators in Madrid voted to invoke Article 155, a clause in the Spanish constitution that grants the central government emergency powers to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and take over control of essential parts of the administration. Madrid can now remove Puigdemont and his ministers and assume direct authority over regional police, finances and public media. The senate vote came to 214 in favor of activating Article 155 and 47 against, with one member abstaining.

“Article 155 is not against Catalonia but to avoid the abuse of Catalonia,” Spanish prime minister Manuel Rajoy said in a speech demanding the extra government powers.

Catalan officials could now face charges of sedition or rebellion, and Catalan police officers who refuse to follow orders from Madrid could forgo their pay, be fired or even face potential prison time themselves.

The US State Department issued a statement Friday supporting the Spanish central government’s efforts to keep Catalonia from seceding.

“Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government’s constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

As of Friday morning, the State Department hadn’t issued a new travel advisory since its October 3 warning about possible transportation disruptions because of a general strike planned after an October 1 referendum that paved the way to parliamentary resolution. The British Foreign Office, however, told Britons traveling to Catalonia to “exercise caution” as demonstrations “may occur with little or no warning and even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can escalate and turn confrontational.”

The Spanish government added extra security to airports and train stations in Catalonia in early October, but there were no immediate reports of issues at Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) or other international transportation hubs.

Featured image by Jack Taylor / Stringer via Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.