Spain's ultimatum expires, to trigger direct rule over Catalonia

Spanish Prime Minister to meet cabinet on Saturday to retake control via ‘nuclear option’

After issuing ultimatums to Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemont to clarify his position on independence, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will now begin the process of taking direct control over Catalonia.

The office of Rajoy will meet to activate Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, allowing them to retake full control of Catalonia through “nuclear option”, latest reports suggest.

Read related story: Spain issues ultimatum to Catalan, gives three more days for clarity on independence

Madrid was supposed to submit an official response from Catalonia by 9am today on whether it had declared independence or not. The Catalonia leader did send a letter to Rajoy but it not only failed to renounce the region’s claim to be separate from Spain, but also threatened a formal declaration of independence by the regional parliament.

In an immediate written response, the Spanish government has vowed to push ahead with triggering Article 155 of the constitution, which allows it to take some or full control of Catalonia’s semi-autonomous powers.

Rajoy has stated there would be a special cabinet meeting on Saturday to decide on which measures would be used to “protect the general interest of Spaniards” in Catalonia and restore constitutional order: “The Spanish government will continue with the procedures outlined in Article 155 of the Constitution to restore legality in Catalonia’s self-government.”

Earlier this week, Madrid was supposed to submit an official response from Catalonia on whether it had declared independence or not. The letter did arrive from Puigdemont but failed to offer any confirmation and had instead called for negotiation. Rajoy’s government had been aggigated with the Catalan government for not indicating its status on independence from Madrid following the illegal referendum on October 1, which found that around 90 per cent of voters wanted to leave Spain

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