Spanish Vice President defends Article 155 in Senate
CATALAN NEWS AGENCY – Mariano Rajoy’s deputy tells upper house that clause to suspend Catalonia’s self-rule will see return to “legality, coexistence and harmony”
While on Thursday Catalan President Puigdemont rejected Article 155, Spanish Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría defended the clause of the Constitution to suspend Catalonia’s self-rule. With the Senate beginning to debate the government’s measures to implement the article, Sáenz de Santamaría said it was needed “to open a new phase” that would return “legality, coexistence and harmony” to Catalonia.
In her address before the Senate joint commission that will vote on the measures to implement Article 155, the vice president argued that the clause should not be seen as “the beginning of a new centralism” but rather the end “of repeated disobedience to the law.” She also said it would be used to “protect Catalonia’s self-government against the misgovernment of the independence parties.”
Article 155 a “political obligation”
According to Sáenz de Santamaría, the authorization that the Spanish government is seeking from the Senate is to “work for coexistence, harmony and democracy” so that Catalans can go back “to being united”. She also called the implementation of Article 155 a “political obligation” of her government to “guarantee Catalonia’s self-government within the statutory framework and to guarantee the general interest of Spain.”
Sáenz de Santamaría also used her speech to accuse the Catalan government and the pro-independence parties of rejecting dialogue with the State or assisting the Spanish Parliament, which is where “national sovereignty resides”. She also accused the Puigdemont executive of manipulating the Catalan government in favor of secession and placing it “outside the law”. In Catalonia, she said, “those governing have lost the respect of the public.”
After reviewing possible negative consequences of the push for secession on the economy, the vice president called Article 155 “an extraordinary mechanism” but one that is “as legitimate and democratic as that regulating Catalonia’s self-government.”
The Catalan government in full will be dismissed and replaced by “administrators” and the powers of the Catalan parliament will be limited, according to the article 155 proposals to be voted on Friday. One of the aims of the dramatic measures to be triggered, is to call snap elections in Catalonia “in a maximum period of six months,” explained Spanish president Mariano Rajoy.
The Catalan Parliament will not be able to propose a new president, or to hold an investiture debate to elect one. The measures also stipulate that any resolution which lawmakers want to vote on will have to be approved by an authority “designated by the Spanish government.” What’s more, the motions to be passed will not be able to impulse any action from the “authorities” replacing the Catalan executive.
The takeover will also affect the institutions and public companies dependent on the Catalan administration. This includes the Catalan public radio, TV broadcaster and news agency. Mariano Rajoy said “the responsibilities of managing the Catalan public media will pass to “the new administrators.”