Madrid has announced it will trigger a constitutional measure on Saturday allowing it to take direct control of Catalonia's governance, after the autonomous region's leader ignored a Thursday deadline to rescind his ambiguous declaration of independence made last week. Matthew Larotonda reports.
Catalonia's bid for independence from Spain may be in its last days, or about to begin a new chapter of political upheaval. The Spanish central government in Madrid announcing that it will start the process of taking direct control of the semi-autonomous region on Saturday (October 21), after Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont ignored a Thursday (October 19) deadline to walk back a defiant, but very ambiguous, statement he made last week that appeared to be a declaration of independence. Seizing Catalonia's government would need to be approved by the national parliament first, which could come next week. But if it passes it would be a move unprecedented since Spain returned to democratic rule in the 1970s. And Puigdemont has said Catalonia's parliament could vote to formally secede from Spain if that autonomy is taken away, or if Madrid doesn't agree to further negotiations. This is the second deadline Puigdemont has ignored this week. The prospect of more political turmoil raising fears of social unrest in the region.