Spain on tenterhooks ahead of Catalan crisis sessions

[WATCH] Calatonia: Spain PM demands direct rule

[WATCH] Calatonia: Spain PM demands direct rule

The day's dramatic and fast-moving events pushed Spain into uncharted territory, testing the limits of the country's Constitution drawn up after the restoration of democracy in the 1970s.

Minutes after the Barcelona legislature recommended "a Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state", the Spanish senate voted to give Rajoy unprecedented powers to assume control of Catalonia. The Catalan government rejects the moves by Spain's government and the regional parliament may actually take the step of declaring independence.

The Spanish Senate is now debating applying Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to Catalonia to sack Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his executive, and hand control of Catalan institutions to Madrid.

He is holding a cabinet meeting to decide what measures to take.

A new regional election will be held in Catalonia on Dec 21, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a televised address on a day of high drama.

Catalan MPs backed the motion 70-10 in a ballot boycotted by the opposition.

Puigdemont scrapped hopes of a possible end to the political deadlock on Thursday when he opted not to call an early election himself and halt the drift toward independence.

The Scottish Government said it understands and respects the position of the Catalan Government after the regional parliament voted to establish an independent republic from Spain.

But he acknowledged that the path ahead would not be easy.

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Tobias said law enforcement agencies are still investigating the case, and he did not know if race was a factor in the shooting. Police reports state that one of the victims took down the license plate number of the Jeep.

"Exceptional measures need to be adopted when there are no other ways to go back to normality", Rajoy said to the Spanish senate.

"The institutions and the people together built nations, societies, and a nation can not be built without one of these elements".

The parliament of Catalonia voted on Friday overwhelmingly in favor of independence - a move that was immediately followed by Madrid allowing the government to take over direct rule of the region. "Back then, it was forbidden", he said, serving coffees and omelettes to customers in bar Haiti and referring to former dictator Francisco Franco's repression of Catalonia. No country in the world has expressed support for independence for Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain that has 7.5 million people. "What's threatening Catalonia is not Article 155 but the behavior of the government of Catalonia".

"I do not agree with Spanish politics but I do not agree with those here either", he said, describing the recent rows between Catalan separatist leaders and Madrid as a "game of power".

Ninety percent of voters favored independence in an October 1 referendum in Catalonia, but until Friday the regional government hadn't taken any formal action to pursue secession.

Another question was how the local Catalan police force would react if national forces were deployed to the streets of Barcelona.

But the Spanish Constitutional Court is likely to declare it illegal, and key global powers including Germany, the European Union and the United States back the Spanish position.

Meanwhile in Madrid, the central government got the green light to crack down on the push for independence.

Opponents of independence accused Puigdemont and his allies of ignoring the views of the majority of Catalans who wished to remain part of Spain.

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