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8/13/17

Spain’s government prepares to stop Catalan breakaway vote - by Sarah Morris

Less than two months ahead of a planned independence referendum in Catalonia, Spanish government ministers are braced for having their holidays interrupted by separatist moves.

Prime minister Mariano Rajoy has said he would call them back for an extraordinary cabinet meeting if the Catalan government presents a law this month for the vote on 1 October.

“With calmness and moderation, we have to say that there won’t be a referendum on 1 October,” Rajoy told reporters, speaking while on holiday at his home region of north-west Galicia.

The Spanish government says that the vote is illegal since the 1978 Constitution gives sovereignty to all Spaniards, meaning they all have a say over the whole of the country’s territory.

The government has repeatedly taken legal action against moves to hold independence votes, and has made it clear that it will consider prosecuting civil servants who defy court rulings to help in the October vote.

Madrid has, however, resisted outlining what further action it would take if the Catalan government, the Generalitat, ignores court orders, which it says it no longer considers legitimate.

The Spanish Constitution includes an article that allows for the suspension of the powers of an autonomous region. The police could be sent to confiscate ballot boxes and make arrests on 1 October.

Read more: Spain’s government prepares to stop Catalan breakaway vote

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