Spain’s highest court has temporarily blocked a planned vote on Catalonian Independence. This is setting up a tense standoff between Madrid and the Catalonian government as the Catalans pursue plans to vote on potentially breaking away from Spain, following Scotland’s similar vote earlier this month.
Ten days ago, the government of Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region in southeastern Spain, passed a law allowing the Catalan people to vote on a non-binding referendum on whether or not the region should pursue independence, according to this Inquisitr report. The Catalonia Independence referendum was scheduled for November 9, although the Spanish government vowed to oppose the move. On Monday, they did just that.
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the vote unconstitutional, and his government filed a lawsuit to block the independence referendum, according to Bloomberg. Spain’s Constitutional Court has agreed to consider the case, meaning that officially, the Catalonia independence vote is on hold until it rules.
“It’s false that the right to vote can be assigned unilaterally to one region about a matter that affects all Spaniards. It’s profoundly anti-democratic.”
The Catalonian government, meanwhile, is proceeding with plans to hold a vote, regardless of how Madrid’s high court rules, according to Yahoo News. Catalonian politician Oriol Junqueras says the independence vote is going to happen either way.
“We are committed to voting on November 9. We are aware of the great difficulties we will face in the coming days, but we are ready to face those difficulties.”
Catalonian president Artur Mas is taking a somewhat less confrontational tone, but nevertheless is not pleased with the way Madrid is handling the matter.
“The Constitutional Court met at supersonic speed. We hope the members of the Constitutional Court keep in mind that they should be a referee for everyone, not for one side only.”
If the Constitutional Court rules the Catalonia Independence referendum illegal, it’s not clear what would happen next. The Catalan government, led by Mas, could proceed with the vote anyway. Another possible outcome could be protests and perhaps rioting in the streets of Catalonia. Professor Andrew Dowling tells the Wall Street Journal that, regardless of what happens after the court rules, the court’s ruling will not be the end of the Catalonian independence movement.
“Today we start entering into the area of unknowns. Madrid thinks it’s a legal issue, and once they squash it legally, it’s game over. Madrid is going to find out it ain’t game over.”
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[Image courtesy of: Across Cultures Web]