Spain's Constitutional Court has order that a session in Catalonia's parliament, which could be used to declare independence, must be suspended.
Catalan lawmakers have summoned Catalonia’s regional president, Carles Puigdemont, to address parliament about the referendum on independence held last Sunday amid police violence that was viewed with dismay across the world.
The Constitutional Court warned that any parliamentary session carried out in Catalonia in defiance of its ban would be “null”, and added that the parliament’s leaders could face criminal action if they ignored the court ordered and that party leaders could face prosecution.
Puigdemont and other leaders already have said they are quite prepared to go to jail if Madrid orders their arrest, delighted in fact, as this would advance their cause no end.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s continuing hard line approach has been almost universally condemned, except by the European Commission which has ducked the issue altogether, stating only that "this is a matter for Spain."
Madrid has rejected Puigdemont's suggestion that the crisis go to mediation with a third party and Gunther Oettinger, the budget commissioner, has urged the two sides to talk, stating, “The situation is very, very disturbing. A civil war is planned in the middle of Europe.”
The Madrid government has refused to rule out invoking article 155 of the constitution. The article, which has never been used, makes provision for the central government to take control of any of Spain's autonomous regions if its local government “does not fulfill the obligations imposed upon it by the constitution or other laws, or acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain.”
Puigdemont said last Sunday that the region's leaders could declare independence “within days” and has already warned that the triggering of article 155 would be Madrid's s “ultimate mistake.”
King Felipe VI of Spain has not helped matters, coming down on Rajoy’s side in an address to his people on October 3rd which left many Catalans appalled that the monarch failed even to mention those injured in the police violence, nor suggesting a political way forward.
Instead, the King opened the door to more aggressive measures from Madrid to thwart Catalonia's bid for independence from Spain.
Accusing the Catalan authorities of disloyalty, the King said the State had to "ensure constitutional order" even though the displays of violence already has shown what this entails.
The King fears other of Spain’s states following Catalonia’s lead if Catalonia becomes independent. This could swell anti-monarchy feelings and threaten his throne, reinstated in 1975 after the Franco era.
"The King has adopted the government's position and policies which have been disastrous with regard to Catalonia. He deliberately is ignoring millions of Catalans," Carles Puigdemont said.