October 31, 2017
Just days after declaring its independence from Spain, the region of Catalonia is facing a political crisis.
The coalition government of the region, which maintains its own culture and language, wants to be a distinct entity, separate from Spain. After a push for independence from Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont, the region held a referendum on Oct. 1, with about 90 percent of voters choosing independence, but with less than half of the region’s eligible voters participating. Spain’s top court declared the referendum illegal and the country’s prime minister threatened to remove Puigdemont from power.
The Catalan Parliament voted on Friday (Oct. 27) to declare its independence, after which Spain invoked a never-before-used constitutional amendment to take direct control of the region. It fired Puigdemont and his cabinet and removed the region’s parliamentary powers.
On Monday (Oct. 30), Spain’s chief prosecutor called for charges against multiple Catalan leaders, including sedition, embezzlement and provocation. Puigdemont and other members of his administration fled to Belgium, but the former president said today (Oct. 31) he is not seeking asylum there and would return if he were guaranteed a fair judicial process in Spain.
Other European countries and the European Union (EU) have supported Spain and stayed on the sidelines during the crisis in Catalonia. The EU’s stance makes sense to avoid supporting movements in other restive regions in the EU, said Texas Tech University’s Stephen Meserve, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, who specializes in comparative European politics. Meserve is available to discuss the situation with Catalonia and its possible results.
Stephen Meserve, assistant professor of political science,(806) 834-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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