The government of Spain has acted quickly to dissolve the Catalonian parliament, dismiss the government and calling an election for Dec. 21, 2017.
The Catalans had voted by about 90% to secede on Oct. 1 but only about 43% of the people voted. The Spanish government tried to stop the vote from taking place and the Constitutional Court had ruled that secession was unconstitutional, based on the 1978 Constitution that was adopted after the end of the Francisco Franco dictatorship.
Calalonia is one of Spain's 17 regional governments, established by the 1978 Constitution and they were given broad administrative and legal powers, but Art. 155 allows the Central government to take " all necessary measures" to assure constitutional order. The threat and the vote for secession has pushed the Spanish government of P M Rajoy to use the " nuclear option" ( As Art. 155 is called).
The Catalan leader Carlos Puigdemont and his minister could face sedition charges. Much will depend on their actions and whether they call out their supporters to protest/ demonstrate. So far things have been relatively quiet but on Sunday, 29th, Oct. hundreds of thousands rallied in Barcelona in favor of staying in the union.
The E U and other European governments have signaled that they are in favor of Spain's territorial integrity and would not welcome or give any comfort to the Catalan separatists ( only the Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois, separatists parties in Quebec, Canada, have supported the Catalans, no surprise ). Quebec has had its own referendum in 1980 on sovereignty- association, but lost 60%-40%; and then again in 1995 on separation but with the Canadian dollar, passport intact, and lost 50.5 %-49.5%. After this the government of Jean Chretien passed the Clarity Act, stating that if a clear majority in a clear majority turn out, voted to separate, then talks can take place. Now 22 years late, in 2017, there is stability as the separatist vote has decreased. Catalonia and Quebec share some similarities. Each has about 7.5 million in population, and a distinct language and culture, but economically Catalonia with 20% or so of the Spanish GDP, is more prosperous, a prosperity that owe much to the democracy, stability and economic alliances that Spain has enjoyed since 1978. That prosperity is now being undermined, in Catalonia in particular and Spain in general, as many businesses have threatened to move out and the E U has indicated that Catalonia is not welcomed.
So here we are. Spain has recently ended its long struggle with the Basques, but now the Catalans are rocking the Spanish boat and instability and insecurity loom.