SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- A high-ranking Spanish government official has warned that the country’s autonomous region of Catalonia is not allowed to use public money to cover the costs of a non-binding referendum on secession from Spain this weekend.
In a letter to the Catalan government on Thursday, Madrid’s representative in the region, Maria de los Llanos de Luna, wrote that, “Efforts to use public resources to stage the consultation or other actions linked to it could go against court ruling,” referring to a Tuesday verdict by the Spanish Constitutional Court against the planned referendum.
She also called on Catalan President Artur Mas to “avoid violating the decision” by the court.
The court ordered the Catalan government to prevent the symbolic vote on independence planned for November 9. However, Mas has vowed to push ahead with the poll.
Catalan officials maintain that the referendum, which they call a “citizen participation process,” is legal.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy argues that Catalonia’s independence bid disrespects “democratic conditions.”
A “yes” vote in the symbolic referendum will not automatically lead to the secession of the region but will only give the Catalan president the mandate to negotiate independence with the Spanish administration.
The wealthy northeastern region of Spain has a population of 7.6 million people, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the country’s economy, and has been seeking independence for years.
Many Catalans believe their economy would be more prosperous on its own, complaining that a high portion of their taxes goes to the central government in Madrid.