Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba reaffirmed on Friday that next week's referendum on Catalan independence to be held in Barcelona has no legal standing and will not be recognized by the government in Madrid. "This isn't the first time" such a vote on independence has been held, he said.
Regional premier Artur Mas and eight of his 11 commissioners of the ruling Catalan CiU nationalist bloc have handed in early ballots in favor of independence in the poll organized by the Barcelona Decideix platform. This will be the first time that such a vote will have been held in Catalonia since Mas and his CiU party took office last year.
"Just because the regional premier casts his ballot doesn't mean that this referendum is going to change anything," Rubalcaba said, responding to a reporter's question. The deputy prime minister said that it is up to Mas to explain "if he wants to" why he took part in a vote that has no legal validity.
Barcelona is following other cities and towns across the region in holding such votes.