Spanish government challenges Catalonia’s symbolic vote on independence

Madrid, Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) Spain’s government Friday challenged Catalonia’s decision to hold a symbolic vote Nov 9 as an alternative to a referendum on independence stalled by the Constitutional Court.

The government of Priem Minister Mariano Rajoy filed a new appeal against the move before the Constitutional Court to “guarantee the State of Law and protect democracy”, Vice President Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said at the end of Friday’s cabinet meeting.
The alternative vote was called by Catalonia’s nationalist regional government after its planned non-binding referendum was suspended when the high tribunal accepted to consider an appeal by the central government branding it illegal.
Catalan President Artur Mas has defended the symbolic vote, described as a “citizen participation process”, which will be held during two weeks as of Nov 9 and for which there are no voter rolls.
Mas is expecting a huge turnout showing citizens’ willingness to voice their opinion on independence.
Catalonia, one of Spain’s wealthiest regions, enjoys a high degree of autonomy but has often complained it pays more to state coffers than what it receives.
Nearly two million people took to the streets in Barcelona Sep 11, Catalonia’s national holiday, to voice their support for a referendum on independence.
–IANS/EFE
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