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Catalan Parliament Declares Independence From Spain

© REUTERS / Juan MedinaPeople celebrate after the Catalan regional parliament declares the independence from Spain in Barcelona, Spain, October 27, 2017
People celebrate after the Catalan regional parliament declares the independence from Spain in Barcelona, Spain, October 27, 2017 - Sputnik International
The Catalan regional parliament has voted for independence from Madrid; the national parliament has responded by invoking Article 155 of the constitution in order to rescind Catalonia's autonomous powers.

Catalonia's lawmakers have voted for independence from Madrid, claiming they have a mandate for secession after a referendum earlier this month.

The motion to declare a republic was voted for by secret ballot in the regional parliament in Barcelona on Friday. Out of 135 lawmakers, only 82 took part in the vote, of which 70 voted in favor of independence with 10 against. Two lawmakers cast blank ballots. Minutes prior to the vote on independence, Catalan lawmakers from the Socialist Party, People's Party, and Ciudadanos left the chamber. 

In response, less than an hour later the national parliament voted to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which allows Madrid to fire the government of an autonomous region, install a technocratic government and call new elections. This marks the first time the article has been used since the Spanish constitution was established in 1978.

Spanish government pledges to "defend the law" in Catalonia  

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called on Spaniards to remain calm and vowed to restore the rule of law in the country.

 "I ask for calm from all Spaniards. The rule of law will restore legality in Catalonia," Rahoy tweeted.

"​The Spanish government assumes its responsibility and obligation: to defend the law, coexistence and the rights of all Spaniards."

People wave pro-independence Catalan flags, known as the Estelada flag, during a rally calling for the independence of Catalonia, in Barcelona, Spain. - Sputnik International
Spectacle in Spain: Catalonia Crisis to Impact Country's Int'l Credit Rating
President of the Catalan parliament Carme Forcadell has asked the EU to recognize its declaration of independence, which follows a referendum held October 1 that was not recognised by Madrid. Siding with Madrid, the European Commission described the referendum as "not legal" and an "internal matter for Spain."

READ MORE: Spectacle in Spain: Catalonia Crisis to Impact Country's Int'l Credit Rating

The Catalan authorities held the referendum despite a ruling from Spain's Constitutional Court which declared it void. Amid violent clashes with police, turnout exceeded 43 percent. More than 2.28 million voters, or 90.18 percent of those who voted, supported the secession of Catalonia from Spain.  

On Friday, Rahoy said that temporary measures to take control of Catalonia could last as long as six months. Currently, Catalonia has extensive powers in areas such as civil law, the police, education, health care agriculture and tourism.

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