Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Picture: REUTERS
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Picture: REUTERS

Madrid — Spain’s chief prosecutor is seeking rebellion charges against the now-deposed leaders of Catalonia following last week’s declaration of independence by the region’s Parliament.

Spain took control of the Catalan government with little resistance from ousted officials and Carles Puigdemont, the self-styled president of the breakaway republic was nowhere to be seen, as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s strategy began to pay off.

A few officials turned up for work on Monday in defiance of Madrid’s orders, but soon left their offices, in one case after a visit from the police, local media reported.

Puigdemont made no public appearance even as reporters swarmed around his office. The region’s autonomous police force is now controlled by Madrid after a peaceful handover at the weekend.

Chief prosecutor Jose Manuel Maza, meanwhile, said prosecutors had filed a request at the national court for the charges, which also include sedition and embezzlement.

A court now has to decide whether to accept the charges against the leaders, who were dismissed by the Madrid government on Friday.

The crime of rebellion is punishable in Spain by up to 30 years in prison.

Maza said in a ruling that the filing targeted “the principal political leaders of the Catalonia government”.

It alleged that the leaders “with their decisions and deeds over the past two years have caused an institutional crisis that led to the unilateral declaration of independence carried out on October 27, with total contempt for our constitution”.

The dispute over Catalan leaders’ independence drive has dragged Spain into its deepest political crisis in decades, but markets rallied on Monday as the crisis appeared to fade.

Spanish shares plunged on Friday after Catalan MPs voted to declare independence from Spain, but Madrid immediately moved to quash the breakaway bid.

Madrid’s benchmark Ibex 35 index of major companies rallied 1.3% in late morning deals on Monday, while the euro regained its composure after touching a three-month dollar low on Friday.

Work resumed normally in Catalonia and calm reigned on the streets on Monday despite calls for civil disobedience from secessionist politicians.

AFP, Bloomberg and Reuters

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