After a broadcasted television address, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mr. Rajoy, has called for the President of Catalonia, Mr. Puigdemont, to reveal explicitly if he is now considering Catalonia as independent territory. Puigdemont's decision will have major consequences, and if the answer is found to be affirmative, Rajoy may implement the legal power of Article 155, which will cease all autonomy of the region and pull it back under Madrid's control. Spain isn't alone in rejecting the vote, however, as the global community makes its stance known.

A legitimate vote?

The referendum was overshadowed by claims of illegitimacy and errors, with the supposed result being a 90 percent backing of independence, with voting numbers failing to reach half of the population. The vote was declared invalid by Spain's Constitutional Court, yet Puigdemont was relentless in his affirmation that they had won the right for independence, directly engaging the global community to request they now support this claim. Unfortunately for Puigdemont, who would become the leading power to one of Spain's most prosperous regions and over 7.5 million citizens, the majority of the world took the side of Madrid. Both Italy and France have been outspoken in their disapproval, with Macron, the French PM, calling out the separatists for having purely selfish motivations driven by economic greed.

The EU has also made it extremely clear that it will not recognise Catalonia, and whilst Rajoy is now seen to be acting cautiously and responsibly, Puigdemont has garnered criticism for being "tricky" and starting social, political, and economic disruption. It seems they may find themselves in the position of Kosovo, who has struggled with worldwide approval of its independence since the 2008 vote.

What is Article 155?

Rajoy's comments came shortly after an emergency meeting held to discuss and plan Madrid's next steps, and attempt to predict the actions of Catalonia's Government. Puigdemont is acting in an unusual way; just as he had the opportunity to declare independence in a "legal" sense, he annoyed many pro-independent voters by his decision to postpone the matter for two weeks in order to start some negotiations with central powers.

These negotiations may not even arise, however, as Rajoy primes Article 155.

He would be the first Prime Minister to conduct such drastic behaviour; 155 stems from the 1978 constitution and would permit Madrid to retake Catalonia, as an autonomous region, if it fails to "fulfil the obligations" it is expected to uphold, or if its behaviour threatens the "general interest of Spain".

It is now up to Puigdemont and his team to respond to the power of central government, and declare whether or not they are acting as an independent state. Whatever the case, the next few weeks will be full of both political and social unease throughout the entirety of Spain, and all the international community can do is simply watch, and wait, for the outcome.