MADRID, September 29 (RAPSI) – The Spanish government has decided to request that the Constitutional Court analyze the legality of the planned independence referendum in Catalonia, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told journalists after the cabinet’s emergency meeting on Monday.
On Saturday, Catalonia’s president, Artur Mas, signed an executive order setting the vote for November 9. He signed the paper after the Law on Consultation Votes, designed to allow referendums without the Spanish government’s approval, became effective earlier in the day.
The Council of State, the supreme consultative council of the Spanish government, on Sunday voted unanimously to take the issue to the Constitutional Court. The council members believe that both Mas’s order on the referendum and the consultation law contradict the Spanish constitution.
After the Constitutional Court accepts the appeal, the consultation law and the executive order on the referendum will be suspended for five months. The deadline can be further delayed if the court fails to come to a decision. Artur Mas said he hoped the Constitutional Court would respect the opinion of the autonomous region’s government and would allow the referendum.
On November 9, Catalonians will have to answer two questions: “Do you want Catalonia to become a state?” and “If yes, do you want Catalonia to become an independent state?”
Any resident of Catalonia, older than 16, will be able to vote in the referendum.
The Spanish government has repeatedly stressed that it will not recognize the results of the vote, which it considers illegal.
Catalonia is a Spanish region with a high level of cultural and political autonomy and its own regional parliament. Separatist tendencies have been fueled by the economic crisis in Europe, as this region recovered faster than the rest of the country and even helped the central government.