TIME Spain

Spain Looks to Halt Catalonia Independence Vote

Mas signs decree for non-binding Catalinian independence referendum
Thousands of people attend a rally to support the referendum on Catalonia's independence in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain on Sept. 11, 2014. Alberto Estevez—EPA

Following Scottish rejection of independence from U.K.

Spain’s leader said Monday that he will ask the country’s Constitutional Court to annul a new law that would allow the semi-autonomous Catalonia region to hold a referendum on independence.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s move, reported by BBC, follows a decree signed Saturday by Catalonia’s President Artur Mas calling for a Scottish-style referendum on independence to be held on Nov. 9. Spain’s central government quickly denounced the move, and Rajoy called the new Catalan law “anti-democratic” and said the vote “is not compatible with the Spanish constitution.”

Catalonia is home to 7.5 million people and is one of the most wealthy and most industrialized areas in Spain. Pro-independence sentiment in the region has surged in the years following Spain’s economic crisis. On Sept. 19, Catalonian lawmakers voted by a margin of 106 to 28 in favor of authorizing the referendum. Mas believes he can use local laws to hold the regional vote because it would be non-binding. He said “Catalonia wants to speak; it wants to be heard and it wants to vote.”

Rajoy responded by saying “there is no one and nothing that can deprive Spaniards of their constitutional rights” since Spain’s constitution does not allow referendums on sovereignty that don’t include all Spaniards.

[BBC]

TIME Catalonia

Spain Says Catalonia Can’t Vote for Independence, But Catalans Will Go Ahead Anyway

SPAIN-FINANCE-PUBLIC-DEBT-VOTE-REGIONS-CATALONIA
Demonstratorshold Catalan flags during a protest calling for independence from Spain in Barcelona, October 2013. JOSEP LAGO—AFP/Getty Images

"This will have no effect on the process," shrugs a Catalan government spokesman

In a Tuesday ruling, Spanish judges found Catalonia’s planned independence referendum to be unconstitutional, but secessionists in the Spanish autonomous region (called a “community” in Spain) have vowed to proceed regardless.

“This will have no effect on the process,” said the Catalan government’s spokesman Francesc Homs on local television.

Although stifled under the yoke of the Franco dictatorship, Catalonia has long felt cultural and linguistic disctinction from the rest of Spain. In recent years, it developed into a powerhouse of the nation’s economy. However, amid the country’s financial crisis, Madrid has been urging national unity.

“No one can unilaterally deprive the entire Spanish people of the right to decide on their future,” Spain’s conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told the parliament, which is due to debate the referendum on April 8.

Catalan leaders have compared their situation with Scotland’s, which will hold a referendum on independence in September, but the Spanish Constitutional Court found that the country’s charter does not allow such a poll.

Last September 11, Catalonia’s national day, hundreds of thousands of Catalans formed a vast human chain across the region to call for independence. The referendum, if it goes ahead, is planned for Nov. 9.

[AFP]

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