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INDEPENDENCE BID

Catalan independence vote was unconstitutional, rules top court

Tribunal finds in favor of appeals filed by central government against November 9 poll

“There is only one route left, and that is elections,” says regional premier Artur Mas

Regional premier Artur Mas and his deputy, Joana Ortega.
Regional premier Artur Mas and his deputy, Joana Ortega. EFE

Spain’s Constitutional Court has unanimously ruled that legislation passed by the Catalan regional government to give legal backing to a vote on independence for the region was unconstitutional.

The November 9 vote went ahead anyway, despite its suspension pending a ruling by the tribunal, but was not backed by the original legal guarantees sought by the Generalitat, as the Catalan government is known.

The Constitutional Court also ruled that the decree passed by regional premier Artur Mas to call the vote in the first place was also unconstitutional.

Artur Mas said he did not believe the ruling would have an effect on the region’s bid for independence

The magistrates now have the option to extend the suspension of the vote, as put in place in September of last year, but it is more likely that they will soon announce the annulment of the legislation passed by the Generalitat and pass a definitive ruling.

Regional premier Artur Mas expressed his disappointment with the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Wednesday, but stated that he did not believe that it would have an effect on the region’s bid for independence.

“If the Constitutional Court is saying no to the law and to the decree, that means that there is only one route left for the people of Catalonia: and that is elections,” he said after the ruling was made public.

Mas noted that he would prefer to reach an agreement on a referendum with the central government, but admitted that this was unlikely. The Popular Party administration is fiercely opposed to independence for the region. “According to the state, this is not about finding an intermediate route, but rather for us to throw in the towel,” he said.