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Spain’s attorney general will act without “hesitation” against Oct 1 referendum

Supreme Court president says attitudes from pro-independence leaders’ “damage democracy” and are “unacceptable”

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05 September 2017 02:35 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Spain’s attorney general said he won't have “any hesitation” about acting against the October 1 referendum on Catalan independence. In a reference to the Catalan government, he said that they are ready to fight against “the stupidity of those who are outside the law, the rule of law, and democracy”. At the opening event to officially kick off the judicial term, in Madrid, Attorney General José Manuel Maza also said that he will continue working against “the serious breach of the constitutional order”. “Scorn for the laws” is the maximum injustice, he added also in reference to the Catalan vote.

Maza was not the only judicial authority who expressed his views on the independence debate at the event. The Spanish Supreme Court’s president said that attitudes from those standing up for secession “damage democracy” and are “unacceptable.” He said that the judges will “protect” all public servants. “No one will suffer for enforcing the law,” he added.

Leader of opposition in Catalonia: “The referendum law is an attack on procedure”

The referendum law is set to be passed tomorrow in the Catalan Parliament. However, the leader of the opposition, Inés Arrimadas, said on Tuesday that passing the bill by skipping the ordinary procedure will mean “breaking the way [the chamber] functions”. For her, the referendum law is “an attack on parliamentary procedures”. In contrast, the pro-independence lawmakers believe that Article 81.3 of the chamber’s regulations allows a bill to be passed in one day if an absolute majority of members of parliament so desire.

  • "Ballot boxes are not synonymous with a referendum"

    Miquel Iceta · Catalan Socialists Leader

Spanish government representative: “Independence movement will become antidemocratic if referendum bill is passed”

The Spanish government’s delegate in Catalonia, Enric Millo, also said on Tuesday that what might happen tomorrow is the end of pro-independence “as a democratic movement.” According to him, if the “illegal bill” is passed, the movement will become “antidemocratic.” “No one will break democracy in Spain, or in Catalonia. The Spanish government guarantees it,” he said.

Socialists do not rule out that the vote will be held

The Catalan and Spanish Socialists are also against the referendum, but they were not so convincing on Tuesday when it came time to say the vote will not take place. “Ballot boxes are not synonymous with a referendum,” said Catalan Socialist leader, Miquel Iceta. According to his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sánchez, the vote, if held, will be a “practice run” and will set the territory “outside the constitutional framework”. According to him, it has no “international recognition”.

Debate heating up in Catalonia this week

Political debate is heating up in Catalonia this week. After the likely passing of the referendum law, all members of the executive will sign the decree calling the October 1 referendum, thereby collectively assuming all responsibility for a vote that the Spanish government describes as illegal.

Parties in favor of the referendum argue that it is the democratic right of the Catalan people to hold the vote, as 80% of citizens are in favor of doing so, according to polls. There is also an overall majority (72 MPs, 48% of the votes) in favor of independence in the chamber, with some 83 members supporting the right to hold a referendum –although some reject doing so unilaterally, without Spain's agreement.

The Spanish government, led by President Mariano Rajoy, has flat out refused to engage in negotiations to discuss a 2014 Scottish-style referendum, arguing that it is not possible under the Constitution. The Catalan government says that it will not back down on holding the vote, which it considers a political issue rather than a legal one. While a date has already been set for the referendum, October 1, Barcelona says it is open to talks up "until the last minute".

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  • Spain's Public Prosecutor speaking alongside the Supreme Court president, the King of Spain and the minister of justice

  • Spain's Public Prosecutor speaking alongside the Supreme Court president, the King of Spain and the minister of justice

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