Spain passes measures to control Catalonia spending ahead of independence vote

Nick Sanchez
September 16, 2017

The government of the wealthy northeastern region has pledged to hold a referendum on breaking away from Spain on October 1 in defiance of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has declared the event illegal and is bringing the weight of the state to bear to prevent it.

Since July, Madrid has obliged the Catalan government to provide weekly spending reports in an attempt to guarantee that public cash is not used to organise the referendum.

The letter says a copy is being sent to King Felipe VI. In 2015, the court declared regional independence referendums to be unconstitutional.

Officials in Catalonia and the north-eastern region's capital, Barcelona, asked in a letter released on Friday for fresh dialogue on holding the vote with the government's permission. At his government's request, Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended the Catalan referendum law.

Montoro said he would appear before parliament next week to give the full details of the measures which would also include a demand by Madrid that the central government oversees all short-term debt operations by the regional government. According to a June survey by the Catalan government's own polling agency, 41 percent supported independence while 49 percent were for staying in Spain.

British companies with interests in Catalonia are making contingency plans to leave the region amid growing political tensions over an illegal referendum on independence from Spain.

"What we are doing is exercising the right to vote. that forms part of a basic democratic exercise", Catalan Vice-President Oriol Junqueras told Spanish radio today. That might lead to a distorted result that heavily favours independence but which fails to represent all Catalans.

The high-profile event was attended by Catalan President Carles Puigdemont as well as representatives from Catalonia's main pro-independence parties and associations.

"I believe the Yes [vote] can win and will win and will win with a good margin to show the world there is a majority here in Catalonia that wants to be an independent state", Ramon Piqué, campaign manager for the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the most visible pro-independence civic group, told The Irish Times.

Catalan regional authorities are determined to press ahead.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and other supporters of secession gathered at an arena in Tarragona, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Barcelona, to address thousands of people at the kickoff for the two-week campaign.

Colau and her Barcelona en Comú platform had been ambivalent about the referendum, a stance that has been taken by much of Spain's so-called New Left, which is spearheaded by Podemos.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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