Leaders in Catalonia enraged by tab for independence vote

Posted September 07, 2017

There will be no minimum turnout requirement to make the result of the referendum binding, Puigdemont said in a recent briefing.

The parliament chair on Wednesday rejected complaints by opposition parties about alleged procedural flaws. However, an earlier vote in November 2014 did go ahead even after Spain's constitutional court declared it was not an official referendum.

Caroline Gray, an expert on Spanish independence movements at Britain's Aston University said Madrid could have defused the rising separatist tide had it offered Catalonia a new financing deal a few years ago.

"We will not allow the law to be broken in Spain", Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told reporters on Wednesday, adding that "Catalonia is getting closer to a dictatorship than a democracy".

Barcelona could choose to play in Spain or a Catalan League should independence be achieved, according to Catalonia's Union of Sports Federations.

The referendum plan has created a deep political crisis because the country's constitution bans it.

But a referendum in defiance of Spain's rule of law, without the blessing of central authorities, has inflamed controversy.

However, the Spanish Constitutional Court is likely to strike down this law, just as it has with other laws passed in the Catalan parliament related to the independence referendum.

After several attempts, a majority of lawmakers approved voting on the bill by skipping the legal procedures.

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Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called on Spain's constitutional court to nullify the bill the moment it was agreed.

She blasted the regional assembly's agreement to quickly vote on the bill as an "act of force" that is characteristic of "dictatorial regimes".

Opposition lawmakers in Catalonia are contesting a decision by the head of the regional parliament to vote on a bill that paves the way for a controversial independence referendum.

At the same time public prosecutors announced they would seek criminal charges for disobedience against the president of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, and other Catalan officials for allowing the referendum law to be voted on.

The referendum, planned for October 1, would not be recognized by Spain's central authorities, who have vowed to use all legal measures to stop it.

Similar to the Kurdistan Region's aspirations of independence from Iraq, the majority of Catalans want to exercise their right to vote on whether to split from Spain.

In a show of political unity at the national level, the leaders of the Socialists and the business-friendly Ciudadanos party held conversations with Rajoy on Wednesday.

The prosperous Catalonia region centered on Barcelona generates a fifth of Spain's gross domestic product.