Spain's top court suspends Catalan independence law
8 September, 2017
Spain's constitutional court last Thursday blocked independence referendum bill, voted by the Catalan parliament earlier in the week. But Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan regional president and one of the main promoters of the referendum, said that neither central Spanish authorities nor the courts could halt their plans.
At an extraordinary meeting on Thursday the Spanish government asked the country's top court to nullify the vote in the Catalan parliament. The law, which passed on 6 September by a majority of Catalan lawmakers, sets for 1 October the vote on splitting from Spain. “The law was unconstitutional,“ Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy (pictured) said at a press conference. Rajoy spoke also on Thursday with Pedro Sanchez, leader of the Socialist opposition, and Albert Rivera, the head of Ciudadanos, the biggest party in Catalonia that backs remaining part of Spain. The Prime Minister found an ally in Rivera, who told reporters that his party would firmly stand by the Madrid government. Sanchez suggested that a commission should be created in order to address the latest developments and argued that dialogue between the major parties and the regional powers should be encouraged.
Meanwhile in Barcelona, Carles Puigdemont set out his plans for a newly-enforced Catalonia Tax Agency (ATC), a body of the autonomous government which has an expected collection potential of €42bn, and which he assured would be ready to cope with either possible outcome from the 1 October vote, EFE reported.