Spanish judge bars Catalan independence poll
A judge deems the poll illegal as only the central government is allowed to call referendums.
Barcelona – A judge in Spain Thursday barred a town in the northeast of the country from holding a referendum on independence for the Catalonia region.
Catalan nationalists in Arenys de Munt, home to around 8,000 people, had planned to hold the vote on 13 September, backed by municipal authorities.
But a judge in the Catalan capital of Barcelona accepted a request to bar the poll from lawyers representing the Spanish state, who had deemed it illegal as only the central government is allowed to call referendums.
The organisers had planned to ask the town residents if they supported Catalonia becoming an independent nation.
A sizeable minority in Catalonia would like to see the wealthy region achieve independence from Spain.
Thursday's decision comes as a long-delayed ruling is expected in the coming weeks from Spain's Constitutional Court on the legality of a statute that gave Catalonia enhanced tax-raising, administrative and legal powers.
The statute was passed by the national parliament in Madrid and adopted by referendum in Catalonia in 2006.
A decision by the court against it would be deeply embarrassing for the Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose government needs the support of Catalan parties in parliament.
AFP / Expatica