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Sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to stay in Belgium for ‘safety’

The ex-Catalan leader said he traveled to Brussels because he can act there in "freedom and safety" as Spanish prosecutors pursue sedition charges against him. He accused Madrid of undermining "our political project." Catalonia's former President Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday said he will return to Spain if he received certain guarantees, noting that he left to Brussels because it is the capital of Europe where he can act in "freedom and safety" and not to specifically apply for asylum. "The situation is developing every day. Here we have better guarantees for our rights and we can meet our obligations from here," Puigdemont said. Read more: Catalonia: 'Spain's Rajoy will not make concessions to anyone' "If they can guarantee to all of us – and to me in particular – a just, independent process, with the separation of powers that we have in the majority of European nations – if they guarantee that, we would return immediately." 'Long road' Puigdemont added that he will accept the challenge of snap elections slated for December. But he urged Spanish authorities to accept the results of the election, saying pro-independence forces could once again come into power in the region. Spain wants Catalonia "to abandon our political project, and they won't achieve it," Puigdemont said. "I ask the Catalan people to prepare for a long road. Democracy will be the foundation of our victory." Read more: Catalan independence: What you need to know According to a new poll conducted by Catalan authorities, 48.7 percent of Catalans said they wanted an independent state of Catalonia, compared to 43.6 percent who responded with "No." Positive reception in Madrid Shortly after Puigdemont's statement, Madrid's chief representative in Catalonia, Enric Millo, said the former Catalan leader's remarks were received well in the capital. "It means the acceptance of the return of the democratic legality," said Millo. "They are showing that they are public servants that respect the law and democracy, as they should." In Spain, authorities have moved quickly to curb the growing political crisis. Spain's Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended Catalonia's declaration of independence, while Spanish prosecutors announced on Monday they were seeking charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds against Puigdemont. The Catalan parliament's declaration of independence prompted the central government to move on a Senate demand to impose direct rule on the region. Puigdemont, however, claims that he and his former government have the right to pursuit independence following a controversial referendum earlier this month. 'Reciprocal trust' Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said his country would be surprised if Brussels granted Puigdemont political asylum, saying there was a level of "reciprocal trust" concerning the rule of law between EU member states. Read more: In Catalonia, language and identity go hand in hand "It would be surprising that he could receive the right to asylum under the current circumstances," Dastis told Spanish Cadena SER radio. Accepting a request for asylum "would not be a situation of normality" in relations between the EU countries, he added. Belgium's prime minister denied that Puigdemont had been welcomed by his government. "The Belgian government has not taken a single step to encourage Mr. Puigdemont to come to Belgium," said a statement from Prime Minister Charles Michel's office. "The Belgian government has repeatedly called for a political dialogue to solve the crisis in Spain." Belgium allows citizens of other EU countries to submit a request for asylum on political grounds. Belgian authorities have previously accepted asylum applications from members of the outlawed Basque separatist group ETA.

The ex-Catalan leader said he traveled to Brussels because he can act there in “freedom and safety” as Spanish prosecutors pursue sedition charges against him. He accused Madrid of undermining “our political project.” Catalonia’s former President Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday said he will return to Spain if he received certain guarantees, noting that he left to Brussels because it is ... Read More »

Catalonia: Spain’s deputy prime minister takes charge

The dismissed Catalan government said it will keep working for independence. Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria has been delegated the powers of the Catalan presidency. After imposing direct rule on Catalonia from Madrid, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has put his deputy, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, in charge of administering the region. Saenz de Santamaria was expected to meet central government ministry undersecretaries — assistants to ministers — who are expected to take over the responsibilities of Catalan ministries, over the course of Saturday. A day earlier, Saenz de Santamaria — who has been vocal in her criticism of the past Catalan leadership — warned there could be "dismissals of employees who continue to overtly disrespect the constitution." Saenz de Santamaria has labelled the Catalan quest for independence "a farce" and said that police violence against voters and protesters at the time of the October 1 independence referendum was "proportionate." Parliament dissolved Rajoy on Friday dissolved Catalonia's parliament and set the date for regional elections to December 21, as part of an effort to "restore normality." The move came after the Spanish Senate gave his government sweeping powers to impose direct rule on the region of some 7.5 million people. That came after Catalan lawmakers, under secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont, voted for a unilateral declaration of independence. In Barcelona on Saturday, DW reporter Charlotte Chelsom Pill noticed a peculiar duality in terms of who people thought was in charge. Regional police chief sacked The government in Madrid also sacked the head of the Mossos d'Esquadra regional police, Josep Lluis Trapero, on Saturday. Trapero became a popular but controversial figure after August's terror attacks in Barcelona and the resort of Cambrils, but found himself under investigation for sedition after an October 1 referendum. Read more: Is Catalan independence a second coup in democratic Spain? National police and the Guardia Civil paramilitary forces, many from outside Catalonia, attempted to break up the ballot, often violently. The Mossos, meanwhile, were deemed to have acted passively. Puigdemont calls for opposition Meanwhile, Puigdemont called for "democratic opposition" to direct rule. In a televised statement, he slammed the activation of Article 155– the measure used to impose direct rule – as illegitimate and urged Catalans to show "patience and perseverance." "It's very clear that the best form of defending the gains made up until now is democratic opposition to Article 155," Puigdemont said.

The dismissed Catalan government said it will keep working for independence. Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria has been delegated the powers of the Catalan presidency. After imposing direct rule on Catalonia from Madrid, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has put his deputy, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, in charge of administering the region. Saenz de Santamaria was expected ... Read More »

Catalonia crisis: Spain dissolves Catalan parliament, calls December 21 elections after region declares independence

In reaction to a vote for independence by Catalonian lawmakers, Spain's government has announced it will dissolve the regional parliament. European leaders have sided against Barcelona in its bid for secession. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Madrid sacked the Catalan parliament on Friday evening and announced elections in the region for December 21. "The regional leader had the opportunity to do this and did not," Rajoy told a press conference in Madrid, adding that the head of the Catalan police was sacked and the regional cabinet suspended. The Spanish Senate voted on Friday afternoon to invoke Article 155. The move was approved in a 214-47 vote, with two abstentions. "We will return law to the governance of Catalonia after arbitrary and lawless decisions in recent weeks," he added. "For them it was the worse it is, the better." "They have destroyed a tradition of partnership and openness. and it is anguishing. This is how most non-indepence supporters in Catalonia feel." Puigdemont's fate on the line A spokesman for the public prosecutor's office told the French news agency AFP that "public prosectors will file a complaint for rebellion against Carles Puigdemont next week," adding similar lawsuits could be filed against other members of the Catalan government and parliament. Under Spanish law, the crime of "rebellion" is punishable by up to 30 years in jail. Madrid could also seize control of Catalonia's civil service, police and finances, which would remain in place until a new parliament is elected. Senators voted not to interfere with Catalonia's public radio and television. The main secessionist group - the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) - later called on civil servants not to follow orders from the central government. Pro-independence Catalonians had promised to launch a campaign of civil disobedience if the government implements Article 155. Spanish flags were taken down in several towns of Catalonia. The Senate met earlier on Friday to discuss a possible takeover of the Catalan regional government on the grounds that it had broken federal law. The measure would allow Madrid to dissolve Catalonia's parliament, depose Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and take control of its police force. This marks the first time since the fall of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 that the central government would directly control the affairs of one of Spain's 17 semi-autonomous regions. How Madrid uses the extraordinary powers it given itself will be watched by Spain’s other autonomous regions, especially the Basques and Galicians. Rajoy has promised that the move is simply to restore order after Catalonia held an unauthorized independence referendum on October 1. He told the Senate that Catalonia was in "clear violation" of Spanish laws. "What Catalans need protecting from is not Spanish imperialism, but a minority that, in an intolerant fashion, wants to submit everybody to the yoke of its secessionist doctrine," Rajoy said. Barcelona votes to go its own way An hour earlier, the Catalan parliament in Barcelona voted 70 in favor and 10 against on a declaration of independence. "Our legitimate parliament has taken a very important step. This is the people's mandate. Now we face a time when we will need to stay calm, peaceful and dignified, as we have always done," Puigdemont told a massed crowd in Barcelona after the Madrid vote. Puigdemont emphasized the importance of maintaining "momentum." Dozens of opposition lawmakers walked out of the Catalan parliament chamber before the vote on independence. Legislators from the opposition Socialists and Citizens parties said earlier they would boycott the vote on the establishment of a new Catalan Republic in a motion proposed by the majority separatists. Lawmakers from the Popular party (PP) - the ruling party at the national level, but a minority in Catalonia - had also walked out after placing Spanish and Catalonia official flags in their empty seats. Following the vote Catalan regional VP Oriol Junqueras tweeted that Catalonia had gained its freedom by voting to cede from Spain. Barcelona and Madrid narrowly avoided ending the deadlock peacefully on Thursday, with Puigdemont declining to call snap elections that would bring in a new government, and Rajoy refusing to accept a deal from the Catalan president that would have secured his region's autonomy. EU and US back Madrid The US State Department said on Friday it supported Spain's government in its efforts to stop Catalonia's independence bid. Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: "Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government's constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united." EU President Donald Tusk made clear that Madrid "remains our only interlocutor." Meanwhile, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker spoke of the danger of "more cracks" opening up in the 28-member bloc following Catalonia's vote. The EU "doesn't need any more cracks, more splits." EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani said the Catalonian parliament's move was "a breach of the rule of law" and added that "no one in the European Union will recognize this declaration." A number of Western European leaders, including Germany, France, Italy and the UK, responded in the hours that followed with full support for Madrid. Germany has called for dialogue between the two sides. "The (German) federal government does not recognize such an independence declaration," spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter. "I have one partner in Spain, that's Prime Minister Rajoy," said French President Emmanuel Macron. Britain "does not and will not" recognize the unilateral declaration of independence made by the Catalan regional parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesperson said in a statement. "It is based on a vote that was declared illegal by the Spanish courts. We continue to want to see the rule of law upheld, the Spanish Constitution respected, and Spanish unity preserved," the spokesperson said. Meanwhile, Scotland - which itself has considered independence - expressed understanding for Catalonia's position, but ultimately sided with the Spanish government as well. "Today’s Declaration of Independence came about only after repeated calls for dialogue were refused," Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said in a statement. "The imposition of direct rule cannot be the solution and should be of concern to democrats everywhere. The EU has a political and moral responsibility to support dialogue to identify how the situation can be resolved peacefully and democratically."

In reaction to a vote for independence by Catalonian lawmakers, Spain’s government has announced it will dissolve the regional parliament. European leaders have sided against Barcelona in its bid for secession. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Madrid sacked the Catalan parliament on Friday evening and announced elections in the region for December 21. “The regional leader had the opportunity to ... Read More »

Catalonia’s Carles Puigdemont: No snap regional election to be held

Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont has ruled out dissolving the regional parliament and calling a snap election. The Spanish Senate is set to approve suspending Catalonia's autonomy on Friday. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said on Thursday that he will not initiate a snap election, despite earlier reports that he would do so to defuse the ongoing standoff between Barcelona and Madrid over the region's drive for independence. In a televised address, the President said he needed more "guarantees" from the Spanish government that it would not impose direct rule on Catalonia. "I was ready to call an election if guarantees were given. There is no guarantee that justifies calling an election today," he said. Puigdemont, who had been expected to speak multiple times earlier on Thursday, said the Catalan parliament had to decide how the region should respond to plans by the central government to suspend its autonomy. Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said after Puigdemont's speech: "The independence leaders have shown their true face, they have promised a dream but are performing tricks." She added that the central government was ready to move to a new phase "where the law is respected." Read more: Is Catalan independence a second coup in democratic Spain? Next step: Senate On Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced the central government would suspend Catalonia's autonomy by triggering Article 155 of the Spanish constitution. Rajoy had also said that he would use extraordinary powers granted by Article 155 to dissolve the Catalan government and call early elections. The upper chamber Spanish Senate, which mostly supports Rajoy's hardline stance against Barcelona, is set to approve that decision on Friday. The government has never before evoked Article 155 against any of the country's 17 autonomous regions. Puigdemont has accused Rajoy of wanting to carry out "the worst attack on institutions and the Catalan people" since Francisco Franco, the dictator who ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975. Franco's government suppressed Catalan culture and forbade the official use of the region's language. Read more: Catalonia: Fears that Madrid's decision to dissolve province's authority opens Pandora's box One month later Madrid and Barcelona have been locked in a standoff since Catalonia held a disputed independence referendum on October 1 in which 90 percent of voters opted for secession. Spain had declared the vote illegal and voter turnout was only 43 percent on polling day. Puigdemont nevertheless said after the vote that "the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic." More to come.

Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont has ruled out dissolving the regional parliament and calling a snap election. The Spanish Senate is set to approve suspending Catalonia’s autonomy on Friday. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said on Thursday that he will not initiate a snap election, despite earlier reports that he would do so to defuse the ongoing standoff between Barcelona and Madrid ... Read More »

Spanish government threatens to revoke Catalan autonomy

After the latest Spanish deadline for the Catalans expired, the office of Spain's prime minister is scheduling an "extraordinary meeting" to consider invoking Article 155. Madrid said this would "restore legality." Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced on Thursday in Madrid that his government would take steps to enact Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution for the first time in Spanish history, thereby suspending Catalan regional autonomy and paving the way for new regional elections. "The Spanish government will continue with the procedures outlined in Article 155 of the Constitution to restore legality in Catalonia's self-government," it said in a statement it also shared on Twitter. The statement also announced that a special cabinet meeting had been set for Saturday to move forward with Article 155 and establish the necessary measures. Once the cabinet approves these, the proposal will pass to the Senate, the upper chamber of the Spanish parliament, for approval. The process could take up to around a week. However, members of Rajoy's ruling government were meeting Thrusday with the opposition socialists to being outlining possible measures. The central government underlined that the ultimate goal of enacting Article 155 was "to protect the general interests of Spaniards, including the citizens of Catalonia, and restore the constitutional order in the autonomous community." Puigdemont has promised to lift the suspension on Catalan independence if Article 155 is triggered. The government's response came half an hour after Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont refused to budge from his secessionist stance in the final moments of a 10 a.m. local time (0800 UTC/GMT) deadline. Instead of issuing a clear position on his bid for secession and backing down from his secessionist course, as Spain had demanded, Puigdemont reiterated his calls for dialogue with Spain's central government. He warned that the regional parliament in Barcelona could formally vote for independence, should the central government "persist in impeding dialogue and continuing the repression." "The [Catalan] Parliament will proceed and vote on the formal declaration of independence that it did not vote on on October 10," the Catalan leader said. Independent already? The Catalan regional and Spanish central governments have been trading off demands in constitutional crisis ever since Puigdemont declared a mandate for Catalan independence on October 10, only to suspend it seconds later. Puigdemont had already failed once on October 16 to give Madrid a "clear and simple" yes or no answer as to whether or not he had declared Catalan independence. Thursday's statement marked the second — and last — chance that the central government had laid out before it would seek to apply Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution from 1978, which would suspend Catalan regional autonomy and pave the way for new regional elections. On October 1, some 2 million Catalans took part in a referendum on independence that Spain's top court had declared unconstitutional. Some 90 percent cast their votes of secession from Spain, through less than half of eligible voters turned out, with many who oppose independence staying away from the illegal referendum. Despite the firm political direction of Puigdemont, Catalonia remains divided over the prospect of breakaway from Spain. Hundreds and thousands of independence supporters and opponents have taken to the streets over the past years, and demonstrations from both sides have been planned for the upcoming days.

After the latest Spanish deadline for the Catalans expired, the office of Spain’s prime minister is scheduling an “extraordinary meeting” to consider invoking Article 155. Madrid said this would “restore legality.” Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced on Thursday in Madrid that his government would take steps to enact Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution for the first time in ... Read More »

Spain issues new Catalonia deadline, saying response wasn’t ‘credible’

The Spanish government has given Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont another three days to say whether the region has declared independence. Puigdemont had asked for direct talks with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria on Monday rejected Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont's call for direct negotiations and set a fresh deadline of Thursday to drop a bid for independence. Saenz de Santamaria told reporters in Madrid that the central government had wanted a simple "yes or no" answer from Puigdemont about whether Catalonia had declared a split from Spain by 10 a.m. local time (0800 UTC/GMT) on Monday and he had failed to give one. "It wasn't very difficult to say 'yes' or 'no,'" Saenz de Santamaria said. "It is not difficult to return to reason in these next three days." Puigdemont's gambit: talks with Rajoy In a two-page letter sent ahead of Monday's deadline, Puigdemont didn't clarify whether he had declared independence from Spain. Instead, he asked for two months of negotiations on the issue with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. "Over the coming two months, our main objective is to appeal to you to dialogue," and allow "international, Spanish and Catalan" mediators to open a path of negotiation, the letter to Rajoy said. Puigdemont wrote that his regional government's "suspension of the political mandate" to declare independence showed his government's "firm intention to find the solution rather than generate confrontation." However, the letter did state that Catalonia's parliament had a "democratic mandate" to declare independence after October 1's disputed referendum. Puigdemont's government defied Spanish authorities by staging the vote. Fewer than half of eligible voters participated, but of those who did, roughly 90 percent supported secession. Catalonia's status has been in question since last Tuesday, when Puigdemont issued a symbolic independence declaration — only to suspend it moments later and say he would seek talks with Spain's government.

The Spanish government has given Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont another three days to say whether the region has declared independence. Puigdemont had asked for direct talks with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria on Monday rejected Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont’s call for direct negotiations and set a fresh deadline of Thursday to drop a ... Read More »

Deadly fires rage in Portugal, Spain, ex-Hurricane Ophelia fans flames

Dozens of people have been killed in wildfires in northern and central Portugal and in Galicia in Spain. Arson has been blamed for some of the fires, which have been fanned by Hurricane Ophelia and hot autumn weather. Portugal has declared a state of emergency after hundreds of wildfires ravaged forests in the north and center of the country. Unusually hot temperatures and prolonged dry weather throughout helped the fires spread easily. - At least 31 people have died in Portugal, according to civil defense authorities - Over 5,000 firefighters are battling the blazes - Hundreds of people have been evacuated, with schools, roads and rail services being closed "We are facing new (weather) conditions... In an era of climate change, such disasters are becoming reality all over the world," Portuguese Interior Minister, Constanca Urbano de Sousa, said citing thefires burning in California. The deaths come just four months after 64 people were killed and more than 250 injured in mid-June, in the deadliest fire in the country's history. Arsonists behind some fires Across the border in Spain, at least three people died as more than 105 fires broke out in the northwestern region of Galicia. Spanish and Portuguese authorities have blamed arson for some of the fires. Speaking to firefighters in the region, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said "what we are seeing here doesn't happen accidentally. This has been provoked." "They are absolutely intentional fires, premeditated, caused by people who know what they are doing," said Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the head of the Galicia regional government. He said that 90 percent of forest fires each year in Galicia were intentional. Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said "several people have been identified in connection to the fires in Galicia." The fires in both Spain and Portugal were exacerbated by strong winds caused by ex-Hurricane Ophelia, whose remnants brushed the Iberian coast and has also caused major disruption in Ireland. The European Commission offered its condolences and vowed to help where it could. Rain was forecast to fall later Monday and bring some respite for firefighters.

Dozens of people have been killed in wildfires in northern and central Portugal and in Galicia in Spain. Arson has been blamed for some of the fires, which have been fanned by Hurricane Ophelia and hot autumn weather. Portugal has declared a state of emergency after hundreds of wildfires ravaged forests in the north and center of the country. Unusually ... Read More »

Spain’s separatist ETA hands over remaining weapons, ending bloody campaign

سابق صدر آصف علی زرداری کل خیبرپختونخواکادورہ کریں گے آصف زرداری مختلف سیاسی شخصیات سےملاقات کریں گے

Ending a decades-long campaign of violence for an independent state, ETA has surrendered its arms caches. But Spain’s government has rejected demands for amnesty, saying the group will not “profit” from the disarmament. The Spanish militant group ETA handed over its remaining declared arms and explosives to members of “civil society,” effectively meeting a Saturday deadline. Known for its targeted ... Read More »

Spain’s socialist PSOE votes to abstain in prime minister confidence vote

اسپین کی سوشلسٹ جماعت نے قدامت پسند حکمران پاپولر پارٹی کو اقلیتی حکومت بنانے کی اجازت دے دی ہے۔ گزشتہ برس بیس دسمبر سے اسپین میں کوئی مستقل حکومت نہیں ہے۔ متعدد انتخابات میں غیر فیصلہ کن نتائج کے بعد اسپین میں حکومت سازی کے عمل میں کئی پیچیدگیاں دیکھنے میں آئی تھیں۔ سوشلسٹ جماعت پی ایس او ای کے ترجمان کا اتوار کے روز کہنا تھا کہ وہ پاپولر پارٹی کی جانب سے حکومت سازی کی مخالفت نہیں کریں گے۔ اتوار کے روز سوشلسٹ پارٹی نے پارلیمنٹ میں ہونے والی رائے شماری میں حصہ لیتے ہوئے اس قراردار کے خلاف ووٹ ڈالے جس کے ذریعے پاپولر پارٹی کو حکومت سازی کے لیے روکا جانا تھا۔ یوں دس ماہ سے جاری سیاسی عدم استحکام ختم ہونے کا امکان ہو گیا ہے اور نئے انتخابات کی ضرورت شاید اب نہ پڑے۔ سوشلسٹ پارٹی کی کمیٹی کے ایک سو انتالیس ارکان نے وزیر اعظم ماریانو راخوئے کے خلاف تحریک عدم اعتماد میں ووٹ نہ ڈالنے کا جب کہ چھیانوے نے اس کے خلاف فیصلہ کیا تھا۔ راخوئے کو اس وقت تیس سو پچاس رکنی پارلیمنٹ میں ایک سو ستر ارکان کی حمایت حاصل ہے، جس میں ایک سو سینتیس کا تعلق پاپولر پارٹی سے ہے۔ تاہم ان کو عدم اعتماد کی تحریک کے خلاف دیگر جماعتوں کے ووٹ یا ان کا ووٹنگ میں شریک نہ ہونا درکار تھا، جو کہ سوشلسٹ پارٹی کے فیصلے کے بعد ممکن ہو گیا۔ تین دہائیوں سے اسپین میں دو جماعتی نظام قائم ہے، جس میں پاپولر پارٹی اور سوشلسٹ برسر اقتدار رہے ہیں، تاہم دسمبر میں ہونے والے انتخابات کے نتیجے میں کئی چھوٹی جماعتوں نے بھی عمدہ کارکردگی دکھائی۔ دسمبر کے انتخابات کے نتائج کو وزیر اعظم ماریانو راخوئے کے لیے بڑا دھچکا قرار دیا گیا تھا۔ اسپین کی سیاسی تاریخ میں یہ پاپولر پارٹی کی خراب ترین کارکردگی تھی۔ سیاسی تجزیہ کاروں کے مطابق حکومتی سطح پر بدعنوانی کے متعدد اسکینڈلز اور ملک میں بڑھتی ہوئی بےروزگاری نے ہسپانوی عوام کو حکمران جماعت سے بدظن کر دیا تھا۔ دوسری جانب سوشلسٹ پارٹی اس صورت حال سے کوئی خاص سیاسی اور انتخابی فائدہ اٹھانے میں ناکام رہی۔ اسپین کی صورت حال پڑوسی ملک پرتگال سے مطابقت رکھتی ہے، جہاں گزشتہ برس اکتوبر میں ہونے والے انتخابات میں قدامت پسندوں کو فتح تو حاصل ہو گئی تھی تاہم حکومت بنانے میں سوشلسٹ کامیاب ہوئے تھے۔ اسپین میں ایک نئی سیاسی طاقت پوڈیموس پارٹی بن کر ابھری ہے۔ یہ جماعت بجتی کٹوتیوں کی مخالف ہے۔ سوشلسٹوں کی جانب سے راخوئے کی حمایت سے قبل حکومت سازی کے لیے اس جماعت کی حمایت حاصل کرنا ضروری سمجھا جا رہا تھا۔ مبصرین کے مطابق یہ صورت حال یورپ بھر میں ایک رجحان کا اشارہ دے رہی ہے۔ دو بڑی جماعتوں کی اجارہ داری ٹوٹ رہی ہے اور نئی جماعتیں، خواہ وہ بائیں بازو کی سیاست کر رہی ہوں یا دائیں بازو کی، یورپی ممالک کی سیاست میں نمایاں ہو رہی ہیں۔

The Spanish socialist PSOE party has voted to abstain in a confidence vote, paving the way for a minority conservative government. Leaders of Spain’s center-left Socialist Party (PSOE) agreed on Sunday to abstain from a confidence vote in the conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Senior members of the party voted 139 in favor of abstaining in the vote, with ... Read More »

Catalans hold mass demo for independence from Spain

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets across the region to demand independence from the Spanish state. The demonstration coincided with Catalonia's national day. Some 800,000 people took part in the Barcelona rally on Sunday, according to police, many of them wearing white T-shirts bearing the word "Ready." Participants - many draped in blue, red and yellow pro-independence banners - gathered in the city's Ciutadella park ahead of the demonstration, holding aloft yellow cardboard signs to simulate a beating heart. The event was held on Catalonia's national day, the "Diada," which marks the 1714 conquest of Barcelona by Spain's King Felipe V after a siege that lasted more than a year. Secessionist parties won a clear majority in Catalonia's regional parliament for the first time ever last year, and approved a plan to achieve independence in mid-2017. However, the plan ran into trouble in June when the winning coalition government lost the support of the small anti-capitalist CUP party, which has a hard line on independence. Time running out? Pro-independence supporters said they hoped the mass protest would reinvigorate the process of secession. "This is the moment to stand united for the 'yes' to the Catalan Republic," said Jordi Sanchez, head of the pro-independence Catalan National Assembly organization. "We are impatient," he added. The head of Catalonia's regional government, Carles Puigdemont, told a meeting of foreign journalists ahead of the rally that "critical decisions" were to be taken in the months to come. All across the region In addition to the as the rally in Barcelona, demonstrations were also held in the cities of Tarragona in the south, Berga in central Catalonia, Salt in the north and Lleida in the east. For years, separatists have tried in vain to gain approval from Spain's central government to hold an independence referendum similar to the one held in 2014 in Scotland, which resulted in a "no" vote to independence from Britain. However, the central government in Madrid, led by conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy remains steadfastly opposed to the idea. The separatist movement bust into life in 2012, amid deep economic crisis and the deepening stand-off with Madrid.

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets across the region to demand independence from the Spanish state. The demonstration coincided with Catalonia’s national day. Some 800,000 people took part in the Barcelona rally on Sunday, according to police, many of them wearing white T-shirts bearing the word “Ready.” Participants – many draped in blue, red and yellow ... Read More »

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