After the Catalan leaders signed a declaration of independence and then stressed that the effects of the declaration have been suspended, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is demanding that Catalonia clarify whether it has announced its split from Madrid. The Spanish government is expected to enforce Article 155 of its constitution if Catalonia states that it has declared independence.

Catalan independence demonstration

Catalan independence demonstration Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

After the Catalan leaders signed a declaration of independence and then suspended the document’s effects for a few weeks, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took the first steps ahead of revoking Catalonia’s autonomy on Wednesday. Rajoy called an emergency cabinet meeting regarding the Catalan independence issue. At the end of the meeting, the cabinet members agreed that the Catalan regional government should officially clarify whether it has declared independence.

Asking the Catalan leaders to clarify their intentions is the first phase ahead of implementing Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which allows the Spanish government to strip the region of its political autonomy and gives Madrid the authority to take over the area.

“The cabinet agreed this morning to formally send an inquiry to the Catalan government in order to see whether it has declared independence or not,” Rajoy said in a televised speech. “The answer from the Catalan president will determine the future events.”

Rajoy explained that he is focused on ensuring the safety of Spain’s citizens. “The request, which is prior to using the means that the government can use under Article 155 of the constitution, aims to offer security and transparency,” he added.