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Article 155: The ‘Nuclear Option’ That Could Let Spain Seize Catalonia

The article allows the government to intervene in one of Spain’s regions if its autonomous government “fails to fulfill the obligations imposed upon it by the Constitution or other laws, or acts in a way seriously prejudicing the general interests of Spain.”It is such a broad instrument that its use has been considered only once before, in 1989, when Felipe González, the Socialist prime minister, threatened to wield it against the Canary Islands to force it to comply with tax obligations.The second part of Article 155 calls upon the government to “issue instructions” to restore constitutional order, which is why legal experts are also now debating how Mr. Rajoy’s government could use Article 155 to seize back power in Catalonia if faced with a full-blown insurrection.Given the lack of precedent, however, Mr. Rajoy starts with a blank canvas. He could make Article 155 as broad or narrow as he wishes, as well as keep its measures in place for as long as he deems necessary.One option may be to use it to suspend from office Catalonia’s political leadership, starting with Mr. Puigdemont, but also including other lawmakers and to dissolve the Catalan Parliament to force early elections.Mr. Rajoy and his government could also suspend other Catalan officials across the region’s public administration, from the leadership of the Catalan autonomous police force to the directorship of the Catalan public television and radio broadcaster.How quickly will Article 155 be used?Following his cabinet meeting, Mr. Rajoy must follow a parliamentary procedure that culminates in a plenary vote in the Senate. […]

Barcelona: A Global City in the Eye of a Separatist Storm

“If Catalonia remains in Spain, I will continue to support Barça,” Mr. Toledano said by telephone. “In the case of independence, I would stop doing it because I want to give my support to a Spanish team that plays in the league of my country.”This kind of tension has led some to fear that the independence debate has turned Barcelona into a less tolerant and more parochial city.“Barcelona is a mixture of different people who speak different languages and came from different places,” Mr […]

Spain Will Remove Catalan Leader, Prime Minister Announces

Mr. Rajoy said the Catalan government had never offered real dialogue with the central government in Madrid but had instead tried to impose its secessionist project on Catalan citizens and the rest of the country in violation of Spain’s Constitution.He said his government was putting an end to “a unilateral process, contrary to the law and searching for confrontation” because “no government of any democratic country can accept that the law be violated, ignored and changed.”Mr. Rajoy said he planned to remove the Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, and the rest of his separatist administration from office.The central government was also poised to take charge of Catalonia’s autonomous police force.Mr. Rajoy did not ask to dissolve the Catalan Parliament, but instead said that the president of the assembly would not be allowed to take any initiative judged to be contrary to Spain’s constitution for a period of 30 days, including trying to propose another leader to replace Mr. Puigdemont.Mr. Rajoy said that his goal was to arrange new Catalan elections within six months, so as to lift the measures taken under Article 155 as soon as possible.However, it’s unclear how such elections would be organized or whether they would significantly change Catalonia’s political landscape, let alone help to resolve the territorial conflict.In fact, the steps announced by Mr. Rajoy run a serious risk of further inflaming an already volatile atmosphere in Catalonia, where tens of thousands braved Spanish national police wielding truncheons to vote for independence during the barred Oct. 1 referendum.Continue reading the main storyMr. […]

Stealth wind turbines ready for deployment

File under ‘what can ecotech learn from warplanes?’ […]

yök Casa + Cultura: Eco-renovation in Barcelona!

Follow the step-by-step eco-renovation of a 100-year-old Modernisme-style space into apartments in Barcelona. From upcycling to smart water-saving devices and insulating rooftop plants, yök Casa + Cultura is about sustainability and the local culture. […]

Enough Public Bike Sharing, Says Barcelona’s City Council. Get Your Own Bicycles!

Barcelona’s bike sharing users are in an uproar; the city council wants to raise the anual fee by 116% in order to reduce the transportation budget. It believes it is time that people get their own bicycles, but what will happen to Bicing then? […]

Spain’s Catalonia Bids Farewell To ‘Cruel’ Bullfighting

BARCELONA, Spain — Matadors drove the killing sword into bulls for the last time Sunday in Spain’s powerful northeastern region of Catalonia in an emotive farewell fight before a polemical regional ban on the country’s emblematic tradition takes effect. […]