BARCELONA, Spain — Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, urged the Senate on Friday to grant him extraordinary powers to oust the leadership of Catalonia and take control over the region in order to end a secessionist threat.
Mr. Rajoy said there was “no alternative” because the Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, and his separatist cabinet had pursued an illegal and unilateral path that was “contrary to the normal behavior in any democratic country like ours.”
“What would France or Germany do,” he asked lawmakers, if faced with a similar insurrection?
Mr. Rajoy’s unprecedented call for the Senate to invoke Article 155 of Spain’s Constitution, allowing him to impose direct rule on Catalonia, came amid the country’s greatest constitutional crisis since it embraced democracy in 1978.
The Senate will vote on the measure later on Friday.
The prime minister’s appearance before the Senate in Madrid followed a day of chaotic wavering in the Catalan capital, Barcelona. On Thursday, Mr. Puigdemont set and delayed news conferences in which he was expected to call for early regional elections. But he dropped the idea and instead told the regional Parliament to decide on independence later on Friday.
He said he had made the decision after failing to secure a commitment from the central government that it would not take control of the region if he called elections.
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