Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday vowed to suspend Catalonia’s regional government and remove the region’s separatist leader, Carles Puigdemont, from power. After an emergency cabinet meeting over Catalonia’s Oct. 1 independence referendum, Rajoy declared he would take the unprecedented step of invoking Article 155 of Spain’s 1978 constitution to begin taking control of the semi-autonomous region after its leaders pushed to secede. “No government of any democratic country can accept that the law be violated, ignored and changed,” he said, according to The New York Times. “What I have faced is something that I have never confronted in my many years in politics, but I didn’t choose my interlocutor,” Rajoy said. Catalan leaders said 90 percent of voters expressed a desire for full independence from Madrid in the chaotic Oct. 1 referendum, which was held amid protests despite being declared illegal by Spain’s constitutional court. About 43 percent of the region’s 7.5. million residents turned out to vote.
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