Catalonia warns of civil disobedience as Madrid readies direct rule
The Spanish government has invoked special constitutional powers to fire the regional government and force a new election to counter an independence drive that has rattled the economy. Catalonia said on Monday it was confident all officials including police would defy attempts by Madrid to enforce direct rule on the region, in an escalating dispute that has raised fears of unrest among Spain’s European allies. The Spanish government has invoked special constitutional powers to fire the regional government and force a new election to counter an independence drive that has rattled the economy. A vote in the Senate to implement direct rule is due on Friday. But the leaders of the secessionist campaign said a disputed referendum on Oct. 1 gave them the mandate to claim independence from the rest of Spain. “It’s not that we will refuse (orders). It is not a personal decision. It is a seven million-person decision,” Catalonia’s foreign affairs chief Raul Romeva told BBC radio. Romeva was asked whether he believed all institutions, including the police, would follow orders from Catalan institutions rather than from the Spanish government. “And from that perspective, I have no doubt that all civil servants in Catalonia will keep following the instructions provided by the elected and legitimate institutions that we have right now in place (in Catalonia),” he said.
Abe to push pacifist constitution reform after strong election win
TOKYO: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, buoyed by a huge election win for lawmakers who favour revising Japan’s post-war, pacifist constitution, signalled a push towards his long-held goal on Monday but will need to convince a divided public to succeed. Parties in favour of amending the US-drafted charter won nearly 80 per cent of the seats in Sunday’s lower house election, media counts showed. That left the small, new Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) as the biggest group opposed to Abe’s proposed changes. Formed by liberal members of the Democratic Party, which imploded before the election and no longer exists in the lower house, the CDPJ won 55 seats, a final count by public broadcaster NHK shows. That is a fraction of the ruling bloc’s two-thirds majority of 313 seats in the 465-member chamber. Abe said he wanted to get other parties on board, including Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s new conservative Party of Hope, and was not insisting on a target of changing the constitution by 2020 that he floated this year. “We won a two-thirds majority as the ruling bloc, but it is necessary to strive to form a wide-ranging agreement among the ruling bloc and opposition (to revise the constitution),” Abe told a news conference on Monday. “And then we aim to win the understanding of the people, so that we can gain a majority in a referendum,” Abe said. He stopped short of claiming to have won a mandate for amending the constitution in Sunday’s election.
China Communist Party enshrines Xi in constitution
BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s ruling Communist Party on Tuesday approved an amendement to its constitution directly mentioning Chinese President Xi Jinping’s name and his “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristcs for a New Era”. No other leader has had an eponymous ideology included in the document while in office since Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China. Late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s name was added after his death in 1997.
Hamas says will talks with Fatah
Hamas said in a statement that it had agreed to talks with the rival Fatah movement, to dissolve the Gaza administrative committee and hold general elections as a way to implement a deal to end their long-running feud. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Western-backed Palestine Authority, controlled by Fatah, fought a war with Hamas over Gaza in 2007, which led to Hamas taking over. Attempts to reconcile the two and form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank have failed. Hamas said in its statement that it agreed to dissolve administration running Gaza, allow the reconcillation government to carry out its duties in the territory, to hold elections and enter talks with Fatah. With the prospect of a Middle East peace initiative by a new U.S. Trump administration more sympathetic to Israel, Abbas has put pressure on Hamas, including not paying Israel for electricity for Gaza territory and cutting salaries for civil servants there.