Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has evoked Article 155 of the constitution allowing him to fire the Catalan regional government if necessary.

The declaration of Independence for Catalonia was suspended for the time being by Catalan president Carles Puigdemont conditional on talks with the Spanish government in Madrid in a bid to resolve what must be Spain’s worst political crisis for 40 years. Rajoy has also threatened to suspend Catalonia’s present political autonomy, meaning that Madrid would rule the region directly. He has given the Catalans just one week to drop their claim to independence before triggering Article 155.

Catalonia provides around 1/5 of Spain’s economy and over 1/4 of its exports. With its own language and culture, the region is an important part of Spain and would be an enormous loss to the country if it were to be successful in its bid for independence.

Puigdemont wishes for the situation to be resolved by negotiation, calmly and respectfully, in a mutually agreed way but deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said that dialogue ‘….takes place within the law, respects the rules of the game and doesn’t make them up as it goes along.’

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