In a largely symbolic vote, the Catalonian parliament voted for independence from Spain on Friday, which caused the Spanish Senate to allow Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy direct rule over the region. From The Wall Street Journal:

The separatist legislators said Catalan voters gave them a mandate for the declaration in an Oct. 1 referendum on independence. Catalan authorities say around two million voters cast ballots and that the vast majority voted in favor of secession. However, opposition parties boycotted the vote and the Spanish government declared it illegal. The vote was also marred by clashes with the police.

Given that the Spanish constitution doesn’t allow for the unilateral secession of any of the country’s regions, the declaration is symbolic.

During this vote, 52 lawmakers “abandoned parliament.” Those who stayed voted 70 to 10 to secede from Spain.

Shouts of “President!” followed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont when he left the chamber.

The Spanish lawmakers then “approved a never-used constitutional provision that allows the government to temporarily take control of Catalonia’s government and remove its leadership.” Rajoy wrote on Twitter that “[T]he rule of law will restore legality in Catalonia” and described the vote as “criminal” to journalists:

“It’s declaring something which isn’t possible: the independence of Catalonia,” Mr. Rajoy said. The premier added that he was convening an extraordinary cabinet meeting at 6 p.m. local time and would make a statement after that. “The state will react. It will be done with restraint, it will be done with efficacy.”

After an emergency Cabinet meeting, Rajoy dissolved the Catalan parliament and announced a regional election will take place on December 21.

In light of the vote, the majority of the international community has shown support for Spain, including the United States. From Fox News:

The U.S. State Department said Friday it stands in support of Spain’s government in its efforts to stop Catalonia’s independence bid.

“Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government’s constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

European Council President Donald Tusk said it would continue to only deal with Spain.

“For [the EU] nothing changes. Spain remains our only interlocutor. I hope the Spanish government favors force of argument, not argument of force.”

The United Kingdom also showed support for Spain, but the Scottish government took a different tone. This is not a shock since Scotland has tried in the past to gain independence from the UK. From NBC News:

The United Kingdom also provided a statement of support for Spain. But the Scottish government, which has a similar relationship with the U.K. as Catalonia does with Spain, emphasized the need for open talks.

“Now, more than ever, the priority of all those who consider themselves friends and allies of Spain should be to encourage a process of dialogue to find a way forward that respects democracy and the rule of law,” said Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs. “The imposition of direct rule cannot be the solution and should be of concern to democrats everywhere.”

The Spanish prosecutor’s office told the media that “the prosecutor would seek rebellion charges for those responsible for the Catalan independence vote.” This could possibly only be for the Catalan cabinet, but charges may also go against “members of the parliament’s governing board and lawmakers.”

Fox News reported that a person can receive “up to 25 years in prison” for rebellion, but could receive a shorter sentence “if the rebellion doesn’t lead to violence.

The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) have asked civil servants to disobey “orders from the Spanish government,” but “respond with ‘peaceful resistance.'”

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