Catalonia’s leader has pledged that a symbolic independence vote will be held despite the legal challenges by the Madrid government.
Catalonia’s regional President Artur Mas said in a speech on Wednesday that Spain’s semi-autonomous Catalonia will go ahead with the referendum on Sunday, promising to protect Catalans’ “right to decide.”
“We have decided to carry on with this participative process…. All people have the right to decide their future,” Mas also noted, adding, “We are defending fundamental rights protected by basic laws: freedom of conscience, freedom of participation and freedom of expression.”
This is while some experts say going against the court’s ruling may set up a constitutional conflict in Spain.
Holding the vote “will be civil disobedience — not for the people who vote but for the public officials involved. That is a penal offence,” said Yolanda Gomez, a constitutional law expert at Spain’s distance-learning university, UNED.
Meanwhile, Eduardo Virgala, a constitutional law specialist at the University of the Basque Country, said, “This time, Mas is going to openly disobey. It is a very complex and delicate matter.” Against the State: An ... Best Price: $5.02 Buy New $5.52 (as of 11:35 EST - Details)
However, Mas says the symbolic vote conforms to the legal requirements.
On October 31, Spain’s central government urged the Constitutional Court to block the vote. On November 4, Spain’s Constitutional Court banned the vote scheduled for November 9.
The official non-binding vote of Catalonia was downgraded by Mas to a symbolic vote after the Spanish government declared Catalonia’s bid for independence illegal.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy argues that Catalonia’s independence bid disrespects “democratic conditions.”
If the symbolic referendum is held, a “Yes” vote will not automatically lead to the secession of the region but only gives the Catalan president the mandate to negotiate independence with the Spanish administration.
Catalonia has a population of 7.5 million people. The region has seen a surge in demands for more autonomy over the recent years.
Reprinted from Press TV.
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