SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- Catalonia’s President Artur Mas has slammed Spain’s central government for taking legal action against a planned referendum on the region’s independence, accusing Madrid of “abusing its power.”
“The central government is abusing its power and the law,” Mas said at a press conference in Barcelona on Friday, adding that the regional government in Catalonia will ask local “legal services to study what legal action may be taken against the Spanish government for this abuse of power.”
The Catalan leader made the comments after Madrid announced plans to challenge the autonomous region’s referendum slated to be held on November 9.
Spain’s national government said on Friday that it was launching an appeal at the Constitutional Court against the upcoming vote on whether Catalonia should break away from the rest of the European country.
Madrid “is using the Constitutional Court in an improper way. It is not the court’s job to resolve political conflicts,” added the Catalan president, pledging that the region will go ahead with the referendum as scheduled.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy argues that Catalonia’s independence bid disrespects “democratic conditions.”
Earlier on Friday, the Spanish Council of State ruled that the planned symbolic referendum on independence in the Catalonia region is illegal, saying it backs a veto of the vote.
If the symbolic referendum is held, a “Yes” vote will not automatically lead to the secession of the region but only gives 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.