Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has dismissed Catalonia’s government and called for a new election. The move came shortly after Catalonia’s parliament passed a measure declaring independence from Spain.
Rajoy announced the dismissals after a special cabinet meeting to discuss how to respond to Catalonia’s independence declaration.
He said he was also removing the head of Catalonia’s regional police, shutting its foreign affairs department and dismissing its delegates in Brussels and Madrid.
The Spanish government moves are likely to meet fierce opposition in Catalonia, where thousands have been celebrating the independence vote.
Rajoy said “we never wanted to come to this point.” He added that the aim of the measures is “to return (Catalonia) to normality and legality as soon as possible.”
Spain considers Catalan moves to create an independent state a violation of the country's constitution.
In a message on Twitter, Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont continued to propose peaceful means to resolve the crisis. “Dialogue has been, and will always be, our choice to solve political situations and achieve peaceful solutions,” he wrote.
Catalan supporters of independence gathered near the parliament building in Barcelona to celebrate Friday’s vote. News of the latest government actions was met with loud jeers and whistles.
Demonstrators cheered officials and lawmakers and called for the Spanish flag to be removed from atop the parliament. Some said, “we are not moving.”
Catalonia has long sought independence from Spain.
Catalan leaders held an independence referendum on October 1. They said the results gave them a clear mandate to declare independence. Spain’s government and Constitutional Court declared the referendum illegal.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from VOA News, the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. Hai Do was the editor.
We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.
Words in This Story
authority – n. official power to give orders or make decisions
impose – v. officially order something to happen
jeer – n. insulting words shouted at someone
referendum – n. election in which people in an area vote for or against an issue of public concern
mandate – n. approval of a large part of the population