THE Constitutional Court in Madrid has suspended an independence referendum for Catalonia on November 9th, although leaders have said they will press ahead with the preparations for a vote anyway.
The 12 judges in Spain’s central government took just a few hours to make a decision against the independence referendum, terming it illegal on grounds of breaching the country’s constitution. The decision had been predicted and expected by the regional government in Catalan.
The court, who had up to five months to give its ruling, said in a statement that it had accepted the appeal and suspended the referendum whilst it considers arguments bought forward by the central government.
Artur Mas, the head of the Catalan government, signed a decree asking for a referendum on Saturday.
The Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, said in a televised address, after the emergency cabinet meeting: “he deeply regretted Mas’s move …… it divides Catalans, alienates them from Europe and the rest of Spain and seriously harms their welfare.
“There is nothing and no one, no power nor institution that can break this principle of sole sovereignty.”
He added that the right to decide a region’s status belonged to “all Spanish people” under the 1978 constitution law.
Mas is still pushing ahead for a vote despite the harsh words of Rajoy, in a statement he said: “Voting on November is the best thing for everyone because it will allow us and also the Spanish government to know what the Catalan people’s opinion is.”
Barcelona’s historic Sant Jaume square clock has been ticking down the seconds to November 9, with huge support and advertising campaigns from local television and radio stations.