Spain's deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria put in charge of Catalonia

Casey Dawson
October 29, 2017

According to the resolution published in the Official Gazette, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria was appointed to replace Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and Vice-President Oriol Junqueras.

The move early Saturday came after separatist Catalan lawmakers passed a declaration of independence on Friday.

Greece also expressed concern Saturday about Catalonia's independence bid, saying it supports Spain's territorial integrity. The move prompted the Spanish government to take direct control of the northeastern region's affairs, sacking its regional separatist government and calling for a new election in December.

Catalonia's separatist leader, who was deposed by Madrid, on Saturday, October 28, called for "democratic opposition" to direct rule imposed by the central government on the semi-autonomous region, after its parliament declared unilateral independence.

Meanwhile the regional parliament has been debating a possible declaration of independence.

Speaking on Catalan television TV3, Puigdemont said he does not recognize the decisions of the Spanish central government and will continue "to work to build a free country".

Andrew Dowling, a specialist in Catalan history at Cardiff University in Wales, said the statement was "vague and imprecise, certainly not like the president of a new country".

BARCELONA Officials in Europe are speaking out against Catalonia's declaration of independence.

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Spanish prosecutors say that top Catalan officials could face rebellion charges as soon as Monday.

Spain fired Catalonia's regional leaders on Saturday morning.

Additionally, Catalonia's regional government institutions will be linked to ministries of the central government.

Catalonia's separatist leader has called on Catalans to peacefully oppose Spain's takeover, in a staged appearance that seemed to convey that he refuses to accept his firing, which was ordered by central authorities.

Catalonia had secured the ability to govern itself in many areas, including education, health and policing, since democracy returned to Spain following the death of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975.

Trapero became a divisive figure as the public face of the police response in mid-August to deadly extremists' attacks in and near Barcelona.

It has its own parliament, police force and public broadcaster, as well as a government and president, though those have now been dismissed.

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