Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called on people to vote for his Popular Party (Partido Popular, PP) in the upcoming Catalan regional elections, during a speech in the Spanish town of Salou on Sunday. Rajoy called votes for the PP «really useful,» and said they would favour democracy and strengthen Catalan economy. «They will be votes for coexistence, like I said before, for normalcy. For... Еще tranquility. In favour of democracy,» he added. The Spanish leader also took time to defend the application of Article 155 in Catalonia, which has de facto imposed direct rule from Madrid on the region. Rajoy maintained that it has allowed Catalonia to recover «legality.» On December 21, Catalans are set to vote for 135 lawmakers in the regional parliament, which has been dominated by pro-independence parties since 2015. The anticipated elections are expected to determine the course of a secession crisis that escalated after the October 1 Catalan independence referendum.