Spanish PM Requests High Court Recognize Bids on Catalan Independense Illegal

Sep 07, 2017, 01:55
Spanish PM Requests High Court Recognize Bids on Catalan Independense Illegal

A majority of the regional parliament, which is controlled by pro-independence parties, voted in favour of the referendum law and the legal framework needed to set up an independent state. However, an earlier vote in November 2014 did go ahead even after Spain's constitutional court declared it was not an official referendum.

The details of the referendum, which would pose the question "Do you want Catalonia to be an independent republic?" to all Spanish citizens living in Catalonia, were revealed amid a tense atmosphere in the 135-seat regional parliament.

There will be no minimum turnout requirement to make the result of the vote binding, regional government head Carles Puigdemont said in a recent briefing.

Catalonia's regional President Carles Puigdemont (R) and former regional President Artur Mas salute the crowd, after Catalunya Parliament's President Carme Forcadell arrived to the court to testify, in Barcelona, Spain May 8, 2017.

The return to solid growth has weakened public backing for independence, although polls show that nearly eight out of 10 Catalans want to have the right to vote.

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The decision has plunged Spain into a national crisis only three weeks after jihadist attacks on the heart of Catalonia left 16 people dead and more than 100 others wounded.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told a news conference on Monday the government would come down with all the force of the law to ensure no referendum would go ahead.

However, the Spanish Constitutional Court is likely to strike down this law, just as it has with other laws passed in the Catalan parliament related to the independence referendum.

Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had asked the court to challenge the law, which will approve a referendum on Catalan independence on October 1, since the law goes against previous rulings.

The Catalonia region's parliament has cleared the way for an independence vote that Spain's government contends is illegal.

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"You will not split up Spain, but you are breaking up Catalonia", Alejandro Fernandez of the ruling People's Party (PP) told pro-independence lawmakers.

Ines Arrimadas of Ciudadanos, leader of the official opposition in Catalonia, said the "illegal" bill not only lacked global support, but also violated the Catalans' rights.

The vote in parliament is expected to ratify the bill late on Wednesday as the government has a majority made up of the separatist Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) coalition and the left-wing CUP party. An 80 percent majority backed independence in a symbolic referendum in 2014, which the federal government ruled unconstitutional.

Catalonia is a prosperous region in northeastern Spain that already enjoys ample self-government.

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