Three parties file appeal to top Spain court over Catalan secession plan
Three Catalan anti-independence parties on Wednesday asked Spain's Constitutional Court to stop the regional parliament from formally launching a secession process.
The leaders of the Catalan branches of the conservative Popular Party, which governs at the national level, the Socialists and the centre-right Ciudadanos party filed separate appeals against the vote on the bill at the court in Madrid.
Pro-independence parties in the wealthy northeastern Spanish region are seeking to pass a resolution in the Catalan parliament on Monday announcing the formal start of secession from Spain and the formation of a new republican state within 18 months.
The separatists won a majority of seats in the 135-seat Catalan parliament in Barcelona for the first time in elections on September 27.
But the pro-independence camp won less than half of the vote the elections, raising questions over the legitimacy of their latest separatist push.
The Catalan Popular Party leader, Xavier Garcia Albiol, said the goal was to "defend the rights of Catalans who feel Spanish and to defend ourselves before an act of tyranny."
The leader of the Catalan Socialists, Miquel Iceta, said the separatist parties' plan would "trample rights and freedoms" and would violate Spanish laws.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reiterated his warning that if the Catalan regional assembly passes the bill, he will "the next day or within days" appeal to the Constitutional Court to have it annulled.
"I have the support...of the majority of political parties that represent the majority of people," he added at a conference in Madrid.
A majority of Catalans, 51 percent, oppose the separatist parties' plan to have the regional parliament announce the start of independence, a poll published in daily newspaper El Pais on Friday showed. Just 42 percent favoured the plan.
The poll also showed support for Catalan independence has slipped to 41 percent from 45 percent before the regional election.
Catalans' longstanding demands for greater autonomy have intensified in recent years, in tandem with the country's economic crisis.
Home to 7.5 million people, Spain's wealthiest region has its own widely spoken language and distinct culture.
© 2015 AFP