Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spanish Government is considering appealing against Catalonia's alternative vote on November 9

The Spanish Government announced on Friday that it has asked its legal services to analyze all the aspects of Catalonia's alternative vote of the 9th of November, which is replacing the original non-binging referendum vote that has already been banned by the Spanish authorities. 
16 days before the consultation vote has to take place and 10 days after it was announced by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, the Spanish Executive is starting to pave the way for appealing against this new participatory process / survey that asks Catalans their opinion about independence from Spain. On Friday, the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, stated that  President Mas is pretending to replace "an illegal process for one that is even more antidemocratic (the survey)". On top of this, the Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, stated that if Catalonia carries on with the alternative non-binging referendum/ survey vote, scheduled on the 9th of November, it will mean that "it is not a healthy democracy", since "it does not respect the rule of law". He made such a statement before the legal reports are ready. 
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Furthermore, Rajoy added that those supporting independence want to put Catalonia "back in the Middle Ages". Therefore, it seems that after a few days hesitating whether or not to ban the new vote, the Spanish Government will probably appeal against it and make the Constitutional Court temporarily suspend it. In the last few days, Catalan political parties and civil society organizations have rebuilt their unity of action, which seemed broken during the time the Spanish Government was hesitating.


The Spanish Government is now paving the way to appeal against the alternative participatory process designed by the Catalan Executive to replace the original non-binging referendum vote that had been agreed among a wide majority of political parties and that was backed by the Catalan society. When the Catalan President announced the alternative process on Tuesday 14th of October, the Spanish Government openly said it was welcoming the fact that Mas had "ruled out his plan" and was "obeying" the Constitutional Court. In addition, for a few days, it downplayed the new alternative vote and did not confirm whether it would appeal against it or not. At that time, parties supporting Catalonia's self-determination were quarrelling among them and their unity of action seemed broken. The odds were pointing towards a failed participation process on the 9th of November.

However, in the last days, things in Catalonia have changed and civil society organisations and parties are backing the alternative vote now in order to guarantee its success. In addition, they have decided to focus on the 9th of November and not on early elections, which are very likely to come in the next three or four months anyway. Faced with this new scenario, the Spanish Government has announced that its legal services are preparing reports on the constitutionality of the alternative vote. It makes such an announcement 16 days before the vote and 10 days after the alternative formula was announced.

Catalonia, "back in the Middle Ages", states Rajoy

Before the completion of the reports from the legal services, the Spanish Deputy PM, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, already judged the new vote to be "more antidemocratic" than the previous one." On top of this, in the afternoon, Mariano Rajoy stated that pro-independence supporters want to put Catalonia "back in the Middle Ages". In addition, also before reading the legal services reports that have just been asked for, Rajoy stated that Catalonia will not be "a healthy democracy" as it will "not respect the rule of law" if it decides to continue organising the alternative survey vote on the 9th of November, which will be a citizen participation process to gather the non-binding opinion of Catalans about independence from Spain.

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