gpolit.com
gpolit.com September 21, 2017


Spain's state prosecutor summons Catalan mayors over independence vote

14 September 2017, 12:37 | Erma Lawrence

Million march for Catalonian independence

Catalonia's polarization escalates

Catalonia's public prosecutor has ordered the seizure of all ballot papers ahead of a banned independence referendum deemed illegal, reported BBC.

The question for October 1 is what happens when the regional police (Mosos) is ordered by a court to stop the referendum, they refuse, and the Civil Guard is called in. It suspended a law approving the October 1 vote last week.

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, centre, attends an urgent cabinet meeting at the Moncloa palace in Madrid.

However, the willing mayors represent less than half of the region's voting-age population.

So far, 712 of a total 948 municipal leaders have said they would allow public spaces to be used for the referendum, although the mayor of the region's most populous area - the city of Barcelona - has yet to take a definitive position.

The move increases the pressure on Catalan officials just one day before the pro-separatist camp officially kicks off its referendum campaign in the Mediterranean port of Tarragona.

- "Put me in prison" - Those against independence complained that a day meant for all Catalans had been hijacked by separatists - and even more so this year, ahead of the referendum.

Mariano Rajoy
Mariano Rajoy

Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended a referendum law that was fast-tracked through Catalonia's regional parliament last week but the Catalan government has vowed to go ahead with the vote nonetheless.

Police have searched a Catalan printing house and a local weekly newspaper suspected of making ballots for the referendum, while Spain's state prosecutor has opened criminal proceedings against Puigdemont and other Catalan officials. In 2015, the court declared regional independence referendums to be unconstitutional.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose conservative government is fiercely against the vote, wished Catalonia "a good day", calling "for a Diada of freedom, cohabitation and respect for all Catalans".

The Constitutional Court, Spain's highest authority on such matters, suspended the law while judges consider whether it is against the country's constitution.

Rajoy on Wednesday urged Catalans to boycott the referendum.

"If anyone urges you to go to a polling station, don't go, because the referendum can't take place, it would be an absolutely illegal act", the prime minister said.



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