Spanish court agrees to hear appeal against Catalonia secession
Spanish prime minister accuses Catalan separatists of working to destroy centuries of unity
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said: “We’re talking about the defence of an entire country. They are trying to liquidate the unity of a nation with more than five centuries of history.” Photograph: Andrea Comas/Reuters
Spain’s constitutional court has agreed to hear the government’s appeal against Catalonia’s declaration of intent to start building a separate republic, suspending any secession process in legal terms, Spanish media reported on Wednesday.
The court also notified senior members of the Catalan parliament, which represents Spain’s wealthiest northeastern region, that if they fail to take the decision into account, they could be suspended from their posts and face legal action.
Catalonia’s parliament passed a resolution this week calling for secession from Spain and setting out a plan to form a Catalan republic within 18 months by creating state institutions such as a tax office.
The declaration specifically pledged to ignore rulings of the Constitutional Court.
Earlier, the Spanish prime minister accused Catalan separatists of working to destroy centuries of unity and vowed not to allow them to succeed.
Speaking after the government filed the challenge against a Catalan regional parliament decision to set up a road map for independence by 2017, Mariano Rajoy said the Catalan move was an attack on Spain’s sovereignty and democracy.
He said: “We’re talking about the defence of an entire country. They are trying to liquidate the unity of a nation with more than five centuries of history.”
Monday’s resolution was pushed through by the pro-independence Together For Yes alliance and the far-left CUP group, which between them won 72 seats in the 135-deputy regional parliament in September elections.
The two are in talks to form a new government to move the independence process forward but disagree on who should be president.
Polls show that most Catalans support a referendum on independence, but are divided over independence.
The region of 7.5 million inhabitants represents nearly a fifth of Spain’s economic output.