Spanish PM mulls applying constitutional powers to stop Catalonia independence

Lawrence Cooper
October 12, 2017

It is also a tactic to pressure the separatists. Under the decree, banks are no longer obliged to consult all their shareholders before switching regions.

Once Catalonia declares independence, a so-called "Law on Transition" would come into effect establishing the region as a "democratic and social" republic, and opening a period for it to set up its own laws and institutions.

Thirty-three police officers were also hurt. Less than half of the electorate cast ballots in the referendum which has marred by a brutal police crackdown.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos blamed the jitters on "irresponsible policies" by the Catalan government.

Given the size of Barcelona, you get the feeling they would commend part of that larger percentage should that deal happen, and it's hard to see the twenty Premier League clubs being too willing to hand over a decent chunk of their revenue to a club that, on paper at least, could walk into the league and instantly challenge for the title.

Sabadell announced on Thursday it was shifting its registered base - but not its staff - to the eastern city of Alicante.

Within hours CaixaBank, Spains third-biggest lender and Catalonias biggest company, said its board had chose to move its registered office to Valencia.

Commentator Manel Perez in Catalan daily La Vanguardia called the procedure a strong "symbolic" move by "the world of Catalan high finance, in coordination with the central government".

Political science professor Manuel Arias Maldonado at the University of Malaga put it even more bluntly, telling the BBC: "He may be Spain's most risky man, as he seems to be heading towards a unilateral declaration of independence".

Mr Domingo's comments echoed Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy's words on Sunday, when he hinted strongly in an interview he was considering using Article 155 of the constitution, which allows for direct intervention from Madrid, should an independence bid happen.

Some bankers and their customers were privately nervous about the Catalan situation.

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Most stories about him focus nearly exclusively on his seemingly total immersion in politics, although he has been married since 2000 to a fellow journalist, Ms Marcela Topor, from Romania.

She said she felt no reason to have to decide whether she was Catalan or Spanish.

"Two weeks ago I started to get anxious and thought of taking our money out of Sabadell", she said.

While Rajoy has said he needs "to do everything in the right time".

"Companies are leading and they will continue to leave", he said, arguing that companies are trying to preserve their businesses.

The jitters have spread beyond the financial sector.

Other companies considering taking these decisions are sparkling wine companies Codorniu and Freixenet and insurance company Catalana Occidente. The march was peaceful and no major incidents were reported.

Thus, although the plebiscite was in line with the global law, the worldwide community will unlikely recognize Catalonia as a state and everything will depend on Madrid's approval or disapproval, the analyst concluded.

The International Monetary Fund kept its growth forecast for Spain for this year unchanged at 3.1 percent but warned that "tensions" over Catalonia's separatist drive could take their toll on business.

Spanish unionists in Catalonia finally found their voice on Sunday, resurrecting Spain's flag as a symbol of patriotism after decades of it being associated with the Franco dictatorship.

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