Spain’s court suspends Catalan declaration to launch independence process

Spanish Constitutional Court building is seen in Madrid, Spain, November 11, 2015. © Juan Medina
The Spanish constitutional court says it will review the Madrid government’s appeal concerning Catalonia’s bid to become an independent nation. The court also warned Catalan officials they would be criminally responsible if they did not adhere to the process.

The Spanish government appealed Catalonia’s independence drive on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The Spanish constitutional court has now agreed to look into the matter, which will put the Catalan’s hopes of independence on hold for the moment.

Catalonia, Spain’s richest region, has been calling for secession from Madrid and proposed an 18-month roadmap that would lead to the creation of its own state institutions such as a tax office. The declaration made by Catalonia specifically stressed it would ignore any rulings made by the Spanish constitutional court.

In its preliminary ruling, the court notified senior members of the Catalan parliament legal action would follow if they do not comply with the court’s decision. The 11 judges warned 21 Catalan top officials that they could be suspended from their posts and criminally prosecuted for disobedience, El Mundo reports.  

This is the first time that Catalan representatives have been threatened with criminal responsibility, since the region declared its intentions to secede from Spain, the Spanish media report.

The government believes the Catalan bid for independence violates articles of the national constitution concerning a “common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he would not allow the northeastern region to split from Spain.

It's not just a reaction to a motion passed in parliament, this is about defending a whole country,” he told a news conference after a cabinet meeting, as cited by Reuters.

This is blatant disregard for the state's institutions. They are trying to do away with democracy. I will not allow it,” Rajoy declared.

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