[Ed. – The ultimatum would put the response date next Thursday, 19 October. Not the more conciliatory response we might have seen. Madrid clearly has confidence in ultimately prevailing. It’s not clear from here that the price of doing it this ugly is worth paying. Could the cultural reputation of iconic, touristy Barcelona be kept out of it? Will this crisis eventually expose things about EU intentions that the senior leaders in Brussels would rather keep dark?]
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday gave the Catalan government eight days to drop an independence bid, failing which he would suspend Catalonia’s political autonomy and rule the region directly.
His move could deepen the confrontation between Madrid and the northeastern region but also signals a way out of Spain’s biggest political crisis since a failed military coup in 1981.
Rajoy would probably call a snap regional election after activating Article 155 of the constitution that would allow him to sack the Catalan regional government. …
Invoking Article 155 to ease Spain’s worst political crisis in four decades would make prospects of a negotiated solution even more remote.
A spokesman for the Catalan government in Barcelona said earlier on Wednesday that if Madrid went down this road, it would press ahead with steps towards statehood.