Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is seeking clarification Wednesday on whether or not Catalonia has declared independence. He has also placed an ultimatum on the independence bid, giving Catalan leaders eight days to drop the matter entirely.
Rajoy says that if Catalonia doesn’t abandon independence by then, he will apply Article 155 of the constitution, allowing him to seize Catalonia, oust its regional government, and take away its autonomous status to make it directly ruled.
Catalonia did declare independence on Tuesday, but President Puigdemont “suspended” implementing the declaration at the time, anticipating talks with Spain. Rajoy has ruled out talks, however, and has focused on threatening the Catalan leadership.
Catalonia voted overwhelming to secede on October 1, despite violent crackdowns by Spanish police that injured over 800 voters. Spain has threatened to charge Catalan leaders with “sedition” against the crown for supporting independence and allowing a vote to rake place at all.
Analysts familiar with the political situation in Catalonia say the regional government is likely to fall either way. If Puigdemont affirms independence, Spain will invade, and if he doesn’t, the pro-secession parties will withdraw from the government, and cost it a majority.