Carles Puigdemont and 13 lawmakers of his former government have been summoned by the Spanish High Court to testify today.
Puigdemont, who has sought legal counsel in Belgium in the wake of his sacking, is unlikely to return to Spain for the hearing. The former president and his colleagues are expected to have criminal charges of rebellion and sedition filed against them, both of which can carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
Madrid’s imposition of direct control over the region has begun smoothly; calls by the Catalonian secessionists to resist Madrid have largely been ignored. Meanwhile, a march in favour of a unified Spain was attended by hundreds of thousands of supporters in Barcelona on Sunday, which is a promising sign for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy ahead of a regional election on December 21.
That election will determine the future of Catalonia. Victory for pro-independence parties will see calls for secession intensify; conversely, a loss will severely impair the movement. For now, however, it is advantage Madrid.
Delve deeper: The Catalan Independence vote: statehood or autonomy?
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Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.