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BID FOR INDEPENDENCE

Catalan premier confident courts will allow independence vote

Constitutional Court must “think very hard about what it is going to do,” says Artur Mas

The Catalan regional premier, Artur Mas, said on Sunday that he was confident that the Constitutional Court would listen to his government’s arguments and eventually allow a referendum vote on independence for the northeastern Spanish region to take place on November 9.

“We are going to do everything possible so that the Constitutional [Court] lifts the suspension of 9-N,” he said in an interview with La Sexta TV network.

His comments revealed that Mas was expecting the court to accept an appeal that the central government – which is fiercely opposed to the vote taking place – is planning on filing this week. As soon as the appeal is accepted, the law that the Catalan government has passed and the decree that Mas signed on Saturday, which officially scheduled the November 9 poll, will be suspended pending a ruling. In the meantime, the Mas government will have a chance to present its legal arguments in favor of the plebiscite, which the central administration in Madrid believes is unconstitutional.

Mas also spoke about the potential use of civil disobedience in Catalonia should the vote be banned

Mas also spoke about the potential use of civil disobedience in Catalonia should the vote be banned, as advocated by Oriol Junqueras, the head of the Catalan Republican Left (ERC). “We are not thinking along those lines,” said Mas in response to a question about his support for such action. “We have the social and political majority and we are doing this peacefully.” However, he defended his decision not to condemn civil disobedience, saying that historically it had been useful in certain societies. He added that laws were not immovable, and that “not even the unity of Spain is a sacred concept.”

During the interview, Mas insisted that the Constitutional Court must “think very hard about what it is going to do,” because, he argued, the non-binding vote is to find out what the Catalan people want. As for his plans after the vote, that would depend on the outcome, he explained.

He also regretted the attitude adopted by the central government towards the vote, saying that it was not the Constitution that prohibited such a poll from taking place, but rather the administration of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

“There is no plan B,” he said in reference to the November 9 poll. “There is only one plan, which is to vote. As to whether there are other instruments for voting, that’s a different issue.”

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