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Spain’s Prime Minister Urges Senate to Allow Catalonia Takeover

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Protesters holds banners that read in Catalan '' freedom'' showing the portraits of the inprisoned Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart
Protesters holds banners that read in Catalan '' freedom'' showing the portraits of the inprisoned Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, leaders of the Catalan grassroots organizations Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural. VOA
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Barcelona, October 27: Spain’s prime minister urged the country’s Senate Friday to grant special constitutional measures to allow the central government to take control of Catalonia’s autonomous powers in an attempt to halt the region’s independence bid.

Mariano Rajoy told senators that Spain is facing a challenge not seen in its recent history, adding that what is happening in Catalonia is “a clear violation of the laws, of democracy, of the rights of all, and that has consequences.”

Rajoy said if the Senate approves, the government’s first step would be to take control of the region and dismiss it’s president and cabinet ministers.

If Senate, in which Rajoy’s party has an absolute majority, moves to approve the prime minister’s request, it will be the first time in four decades that the national government in Madrid would directly run the affairs of one of Spain’s 17 semi-autonomous regions.

There is speculation that Catalonia’s regional parliament may take the step of declaring independence during a special session later Friday.

Several thousand protesters gathered near parliament waving Catalan flags and chanting “independence” and “freedom,” hoping to see the proclamation of a new independent state.

Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont, however, has kept Spain in suspense by again failing to declare independence for his region, following an October 1 referendum in which 90 percent of Catalans who cast ballots voted for secession.

The Spanish government denounced the referendum as unconstitutional and used police to try to block the vote, limiting voter participation to about 50 percent.

The Catalan leader expressed wishes to reach a negotiated solution with the central government over the independence impasse, which has divided Catalans and caused a nationalist backlash in the rest of Spain. However, the central government has not responded to the request for dialogue.(VOA)

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Catalan Former Leader Faces Extradition Threat Again

Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday faced fresh threats of extradition from Germany, where a regional prosecutor's office has requested that he be sent to Spain to face charges of rebellion.

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Activists protest with a giant Catalan flag
Activists protest with a giant Catalan flag during a mass rally against Catalonia's declaration of independence, in Barcelona, Spain. VOA

Catalonia’s former leader Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday faced fresh threats of extradition from Germany, where a regional prosecutor’s office has requested that he be sent to Spain to face charges of rebellion.

The Spanish judiciary had sent new documents to German authorities regarding the charges being issued against Puigdemont, meaning the Schleswig-Holstein regional prosecution has requested that an extradition request issued by Spain be considered again by courts, sources from the prosecutor’s office told Efe news.

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The regional court had previously refused to extradite Puigdemont on rebellion charges and was studying whether to hand him over to Spain to face trial over alleged misuse of public funds.

Puigdemont is wanted in Spain for an investigation into possible rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for his alleged role in Catalonia’s separatist referendum and subsequent declaration of independence, deemed unconstitutional by the Spanish judiciary.

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He fled to Belgium before he could be arrested but was later detained in Germany. (IANS)

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