Spanish Government Threatens to Suspend Catalonia Autonomous Status

© Sputnik / Maria Sibiryakova / Go to the photo bankNational Day of Catalonia celebrated in Barcelona
National Day of Catalonia celebrated in Barcelona - Sputnik International
Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala said that alongside the constitution, the central Spanish government has several legislative instruments to prevent Catalonia, the autonomous region, from secession, including the use of the Spanish Constitutional Court.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators stand on the streets waving their “estelada” flags, that symbolizes Catalonia's independence, during a protest calling for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain - Sputnik International
Catalan President Takes Responsibility for Unofficial Independence Vote
MADRID (Sputnik) — The Spanish government is looking into the possibility of suspending Catalonia's autonomous status if the region continues it's popular movement toward independence, Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala announced Friday.

According to article 155 of the Spanish constitution, an autonomous community can be forced to submit to the central government if the community's actions are judged by the central government as being a threat to national interests.

"If the moment comes, we will apply it [article 155]," Catala said in an interview with Onda Cero radio station.

The minister said that, alongside the constitution, the central government has several legislative instruments to prevent the autonomous region from secession, including the use of the Spanish Constitutional Court.

In this Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 file photo, Catalonia's regional president Artur Mas gestures during a press conference at the Generalitat Palace in Barcelona, Spain. Catalonia's acting regional president has been placed under investigation by a court for his role in staging a referendum on independence last year, officials said Tuesday Sept 29, 2015 - Sputnik International
Catalan Leader Says 2014 Referendum on Independence in Line With Law
Catalonia is an autonomous community with wide-ranging independent powers over local culture, transport, commerce and governance. The region has long accused Madrid of stifling the region's culture and economy.

In November 2014, over 80 percent of Catalans participating in an unofficial secession vote supported the move. More than two million out of an estimated 5.4 million eligible voters took part in the non-binding ballot. Catalan President Artur Mas was accused by the central government of Spain of civil disobedience and abuse of power following his organization of the vote.

In September, the pro-independence Catalan Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) coalition and their allies from the radical left-wing Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party secured 72 seats in the 135-member regional parliament.

According to Catalan leaders, election result give the parties a clear mandate to form an independent state of Catalonia.

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