October 19, 2017

CATALONIA: Spain moves to suspend autonomy.

Article 155 of the constitution, which cemented democratic rule three years after the death of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975, allows Madrid to impose direct rule in a crisis but it has never been invoked.

BBC Madrid correspondent Tom Burridge says that for Madrid this is about upholding the rule of law in Catalonia, protecting the Spanish constitution and disciplining what it sees as an unruly, disobedient devolved government.

However, the central government wants to minimise the risk of large-scale demonstrations, our correspondent says. Civil servants and government lawyers have thought long and hard about what measures to adopt and when and how they should be implemented.

If Madrid’s recent actions are anything to go by, implementation of Article 155 seems likely to be heavy-handed and maybe even self-defeating.