They will say that the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, a decision reached on Saturday by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to stop the declaration of Catalan independence, is a “moderate option” — it is in fact impossible to revoke autonomy as such, but “only” the mandates of the local government and Puigdemont. They will say this is a “soft” option, since everything is pushed back to the Senate vote next week and to new elections in six months. But in fact we are on the brink of a precipice, and the way down is anything but “soft.”
The decision to take over de facto the powers of the Catalan Generalitat and of the forms of self-government of the province is a wound against the whole of the Spanish democracy, which is based on the recognition of local autonomies. This is what Podemos is shouting from the rooftops, with good reason, but unfortunately ignored.
It is a decision that reveals that the only path taken by the government in Madrid is that of repression and not of dialogue. Because stripping a local government of their autonomy guaranteed by the Constitution, and suspending the sovereign democratic process by calling for “repeat elections” run from afar, opens up an abyss of illegitimacy under Spain’s institutions. And it will have as an immediate consequence a further worsening of the already tense atmosphere, after the police violence during the referendum vote, the arrests of the two Jordis, the accusations against the Mossos (now under outside rule), with an increase in the manifestations of separatism. And it also makes clear who bears the original responsibility for this crisis.