On Friday, Catalonia finally declared independence following weeks of will they/won't they speculation on if they would officially do so. This move has caused Spain to get ready to end what they see as Catalonia's treasonous efforts in reaction to the declaration. Last Thursday, the Spanish government had announced the unprecedented step to enact article 155 of their constitution on the region.

Catalonia votes to become independent

Catalonia's parliament voted today to pass a resolution to declare independence, while also asking other countries and institutions to officially recognize the Catalan Republic.

Lawmakers in Barcelona approved the move by a vote of 70 to 10 after lawmakers who were opposed to independence walked out of the chamber in protest prior to the vote being cast.

According to The New York Times, the leader of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont was close to calling early regional elections yesterday but dropped the idea to hold the independence vote today. Puigdemont leads the separatist coalition in the region, as his party holds 72 of parliament's 135 seats. Following the vote, he addressed the crowd of joyous supporters outside parliament, saying “In the days ahead, we must keep to our values of pacifism and dignity.”

Spain moves to take control of region

Shortly after this announcement from Catalonia, the Spanish Senate voted 214 to 47 to invoke article 155.

This grants Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy the power to seize control of the insurgent region under the 1978 Spanish Constitution, which allows for Catalonia's autonomy to be suspended and direct rule to be imposed on the region by Spain's government.

Article 155 is expected to go into effect Friday tonight after it is published in the government register.

Both of these moves now set the country up for a weekend of turmoil as the conflict between Spain and Catalonia has the country facing its biggest crisis since they transferred to being a democracy in 1978 following the death of Francisco Franco three years earlier.

In a speech Rajoy gave today he said that he had “no alternative” to invoking article 155 because Puigdemont and his cabinet pursued a wholly illegal path that was “contrary to the normal behavior in any democratic country like ours.”

Response from America

In response to Catalonia's declaration of their independence from Spain, the American State Department issued their thoughts on the matter in a released statement.

They said that “Catalonia is an integral part of Spain” and that the “United States supports the Spanish government's constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united.”