Attorney General Eduardo Torres-Dulce said Monday that he will remove Catalonia chief prosecutor Martín Rodríguez Sol for his comments in favor of holding a referendum on sovereignty for the region.
In a statement, the Attorney General's Office said that Torres-Dulce had signed the order to begin the process of firing Rodríguez Sol, quoting from the agency's regulations. It is rare that the attorney general moves to fire or remove a chief regional prosecutor.
In an interview with news agency Europa Press, Rodríguez Sol said that he thought it was legitimate for Catalonia to hold a vote on its status but added "there is no legal framework to allow a referendum on independence" so other alternatives must be looked at.
"There are other alternatives, and one is to use the law regarding sovereignty questions and rework the style in which the questions are asked -- here is an area that can be played with," he said.
Rodríguez Sol, who was appointed to his post last July, made the comments early on Monday morning. But later in the day he issued a statement, reiterating that there was "no legal framework" for a referendum and that he would uphold the law as it stands.
The Council of Prosecutors, which ratifies nominations, voted 11 to one to approve Rodríguez Sol's appointment. Now he has to face the same council, which will vote on whether to remove him as chief prosecutor in Catalonia.
Torres-Dulce and Rodríguez Sol clashed last November over the former's decision to stop a defamation investigation into El Mundo for publishing reports about Catalan regional premier Artur Mas allegedly having secret bank accounts in Switzerland.