By: Sara Adams
Impunity Watch News Reporter, Europe
BARCELONA, Spain – Less than a week after Catalonia’s vote for independence from Spain, the highest federal court in the country has blocked the constitutionality of the vote.
On October 5th, the court ruled that allowing the Catalan parliament to meet and consider declaring independence violates the rights of the Catalonian Socialist Party’s members of parliament.
The court urged that any session of the Catalan parliament defying its decision would be “null.”
They also added that any leaders who hold the session could face “criminal action” if they choose to ignore the court’s verdict.
Despite Catalan leader’s call for “peace and accord” in their quest for independence, violence erupted after the vote on October 1st, much of it stemming from citizens clashing with Spanish police.
The Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, has also stated that the situation will “escalate further” if the Catalan government declares independence.
“[The] best [solution] would be a return to legality and the swiftest possible confirmation that there won’t be a unilateral independence declaration, because that way still greater harm could be avoided,” Mr. Rajoy said in a statement to the Spanish news agency Efe.
King Felipe of Spain has also condemned Catalan attempts to secede from the country, calling Catalan actions as “an unacceptable attempt” to take over the institutions placed there by the federal government.
The vote on October 1st has caused much division, both within the region of Catalonia and outside of it.
The New York Times reports a rise of nationalist sentiment throughout Spain, with many pushing openly against Catalonia.
And while 90% of the votes counted on the October 1 election were in favor of independence, the voter turnout hovered at only 42%. This in part may be due to the many anti-secession Catalans who boycotted the election, hoping to avoid giving “legitimacy” to the vote.
Both anti- and pro-independence rallies are reportedly planned for the next several days.
When asked what they thought about the high court’s decision, the Catalan government told CNN, “we will see.”
Indeed, it remains to be seen whether Catalonia will carry forth with their attempt to gain independence from Spain.
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