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Rajoy to take Catalan referendum law to Spanish Constitutional Court

Spanish president says the bill is “absolutely illegal” and dismisses it as a blow to democracy


07 August 2017 07:10 PM


ACN | Barcelona

The law that would allow Catalonia to hold an independence referendum on October 1, which the Spanish government deems illegal, may be living on borrowed time —even before the piece of legislation has been approved by the Catalan Parliament.

Spanish president Mariano Rajoy announced on Monday that he would take the referendum law to Spain’s Constitutional Court (TC in Spanish) in order to block the Catalan government from holding the ballot.

“It’s absolutely illegal,” Rajoy said at a press conference after a meeting with the Spanish king, Felipe VI. The Spanish president dismissed the referendum law as a blow to Spain’s democracy.

  • “It’s absolutely illegal"

    Mariano Rajoy · Spanish president

The referendum bill was introduced to the Catalan Parliament by the pro-independence parties Together for Yes (JxSí) and CUP, which together have a majority of seats in the chamber. The Catalan parliamentary bureau has yet to decide whether it will admit the draft referendum bill and therefore allow the legislation to be discussed and approved by MPs. The decision is expected by August 16, after the summer recess.

Not so fast

On Wednesday, July 26, the Catalan parliament passed a legislative reform that would allow which new bills would only require a single reading. The reform was designed as a strategy to approve the referendum laws more quickly, before the TC could overrule them. This possibility, though, now seems less likely.

Two days later, Rajoy announced that his government had referred the amendment to the Constitutional Court, which unanimously accepted the appeal against the legislative reform that would allow the referendum law to be fast-tracked.

In Spain any appeal admitted by the Constitutional Court from the Spanish government against any new law from an autonomous community leads automatically to a preemptive suspension of that law for an initial five months.


  • Spanish president Mariano Rajoy and king Felipe VI

  • Spanish president Mariano Rajoy and king Felipe VI