Catalonia Independence Vote Rejected by Spanish Government*
Regional head, Carles Puigdemont, is calling for a secessionist referendum in October.
In an increasingly bitter dispute, the Spanish government says it will block any attempt to further an independence process in Catalonia.
The northeastern region has called for a secession referendum on October 1.
A Spanish government spokesman, Inigo Mendez de Vigo said
“Any move that evolves from an announcement to a fact will be appealed …that referendum will not take place because it is illegal.”
Catalonia is a populous, wealthy region with its own capital of Barcelona and its own Catalan language
Previous independence challenges have been blocked by Spain’s conservative government and the Constitutional Court.
The Catalan government has yet to formally sign off on its announced referendum.
“The question will be: ‘Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic’,” Carles Puigdemont, president of the government of Catalonia, said.
Puigdemont added that attempts to agree to the date and the wording of the question with the Madrid government had failed and left him with no other choice than to move unilaterally.
“We have always made very diverse offers and all of them have been rejected without any exception,” Puigdemont said.
Some 2 million people voted in favour of secession in a 2014 non-binding ballot, though turnout was relatively low.
It is not clear how far the legal wrangling may go this time as the Catalan regional government has said it would throw all its weight behind the vote.
Under Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, Madrid has the power to intervene directly in the running of Catalonia’s regional government, forcing it to drop the referendum.
This could involve sending in the police or suspending the regional government’s authority as a last resort.