Spain says no to Catalonia independence

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |  Dec. 2, 2015 at 11:53 AM
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MADRID, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Spain's constitutional court on Wednesday unanimously annulled Catalonia's recent secession resolution that would have seen the region secede by 2017.

In a 33-page ruling, the 11 members of the court agreed that the resolution passed by the Catalan parliament earlier this month violated five precepts of Spain's constitution and two of the Statute of Catalonia, El País reports.

On Nov. 11, two days after Catalonia passed the resolution, the government of Spain under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked the Constitutional Court of Spain to suspend the resolution and evaluate its constitutionality.

The court was expected to take months to rule on the matter, but a decision was made more quickly in anticipation of Spain's elections on Dec. 20.

Francisco Pérez de los Cobos, president of the Constitutional Court, said he did not want the decision to interfere with the elections.

The court wrote that the independence resolution "ignores and violates the constitutional provisions among the Spanish people" and the "national sovereignty," also reminding the Catalan parliament that Spain's constitution is the "supreme law."

About 7.5 million people live in Catalonia in the northeastern part of Spain, almost 5 million of them in and around Barcelona. They have their own language, and are responsible for a fifth of the economic output of the country. The calls for autonomy and independence have intensified since Spain's financial crisis first began in 2008.

Catalonia held an unofficial referendum last year on whether the region should become independent from Spain. Turnout for the vote was 37 percent and more than 80 percent voted in favor of secession.

Spain's judges previously ruled the referendum would not count, as it was against the constitution -- arguing all Spanish people have a say on deciding on matters of sovereignty.

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