Friday

18th Jan 2019

Spain suspends independence bid, Catalans vow to go on

  • The Catalan regional government has vowed to move ahead with its 'disconnection' from Madrid (Photo: Parlament de Catalunya)

The battle about the relation between Catalonia and Spain shifted into a higher gear on Wednesday (11 November), as Spain's Constitutional Court granted the national government's request to suspend the Catalan parliament's independence resolution.

Spanish media report that 21 Catalan officials, including acting regional leader Artur Mas, could be suspended and face criminal prosecution if they try to implement the motion.

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  • Spain's Constitutional Court suspended the Catalan parliament's independence resolution (Photo: Tribunal Constitucional)

For its part, Catalonia's regional government has already vowed to ignore the court ruling and move ahead with its plan to “disconnect” from Spain.

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy said he was “satisfied” with the court decision. Ahead of the verdict, he had called the Catalan text a “blatant disregard for the state's institutions.”

The future of the wealthy region in the northeast of Spain is in doubt after pro-independence parties won a majority in the regional parliament last September.

Tensions remain high as national parliament elections are less than six weeks away.

Wednesday's court's ruling was about a resolution which the Catalan parliament adopted on Monday (9 November), declaring “the beginning of the process of creating an independent Catalan state as a republic.”

Spain's constitution explicitly refers to the “indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation,” so it was no surprise the court would want to assess the constitutionality of the regional parliament's plans.

The drafters of the resolution had expected that the court might annul it, and questioned the court's legitimacy in the same resolution in question.

The court has not yet reached a decision, but unanimously decided to suspend the resolution while it considered the legal arguments. The court case was filed by Spain's central government.

“We're talking about the defence of an entire country. They are trying to liquidate the unity of a nation with more than five centuries of history,” noted Rajoy.

“They are trying to do away with democracy. I will not allow it.”

The evening of the court verdict, the Catalan government said it will continue with its secession process.

“The political will of the government of Catalonia is to go ahead with the content of the resolution approved Monday by the Catalan parliament,” said vice-president Neus Munte.

In a sign of gravity, the political situation even elicited a comment on Wednesday from Spain's head of state, king Felipe VI.

“These are complicated days,” said the monarch.

Opinion

EU must find solutions for Catalonia

Should the EU fail to come up with effective solutions for Catalonia, some of the bloc's flagship achievements could be significantly imperilled.

Catalonia separatists on EU charm offensive

Catalan authorities are trying to garner support from EU states and institutions, after nationalists swept to election victory on promise to hold independence referendum.

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