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Spanish PM Requests High Court Recognize Bids on Catalan Independense Illegal

07 September 2017

Puigdemont's government claims it has a democratic mandate to seek a binding independence referendum based on the universal right to self-determination and the regional law approved Wednesday.

However, the Spanish Constitutional Court is already expected to review the law this week and declare it null and void, as it has done with similar attempts in the past.

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"What is happening in the Catalan parliament is embarrassing, it's shameful", Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told reporters.

Mas is the highest-ranking among Catalan politicians suspended from office and fined by the country's Supreme Court for organizing a non-binding vote on independence in 2014.

"Everyone is looking at each other, and they don't have confidence in each other, but there is nobody (In Catalonia) able to show leadership and ask 'what are we doing?' when it seems that the most logical thing to do at this moment is to rectify", continued Rajoy.

In its bill announced on Wednesday it said a Yes vote would be followed within 48 hours by a declaration of independence.

Caroline Gray, an expert on Spanish independence movements at Britain's Aston University said Madrid could have defused the rising separatist tide had it offered Catalonia a new financing deal a few years ago.

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The vote on the bill is expected later Wednesday.

All opposition parties walked out before the vote, but separatists hold the majority of seats and the bill passed.

Ines Arrimadas of Ciudadanos, leader of the official opposition in Catalonia, said the "illegal" bill not only lacked worldwide support, but also violated the Catalans' rights. Just 4.2 percent declined to pick a side ahead of the planned october 1 referendum. The vote was, however, ruled unconstitutional by the Spanish government and the Spanish Constitutional Court.

The return to solid growth has weakened public backing for independence, although polls show that nearly eight out of 10 Catalans want to have the right to vote.

The decision has plunged Spain into a national crisis only three weeks after jihadist attacks on the heart of Catalonia left 16 people dead and more than 100 others wounded.

The majority of the court's judges have been nominated by lawmakers from Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative Popular Party.

Catalonia, a region of 7.5 million people with its own language and culture, accounts for about 20 percent of Spain's economic output, and has significant powers over matters such as education, healthcare and welfare.

Spanish PM Requests High Court Recognize Bids on Catalan Independense Illegal