Catalonia launches independence referendum campaign

Kelly Massey
September 16, 2017

The region has also said it will stop sending financial accounts to Madrid to prove public funds aren't going to the referendum.

Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said the Catalan authorities could not be trusted to spend the money on public services rather than the planned vote.

Speaking to Telecinco private channel, the vice president of the Spanish Government, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, recalled that all acts in the October 1 controversial secessionist consultation are banned by Spanish justice.

This new system will allow the Spanish state to "replace the region for the majority of essential spending", he added.

On Thursday, Catalan regional Vice President Oriol Junqueras said the arrangement implied "political control" and had nothing to do with budget stability, though Montoro on Friday disagreed, saying the measures were within budget stability rules. Once again this week, Rajoy has rejected sanctioning a self-determination vote, telling reporters "there cannot be a referendum and it would be an absolutely illegal act".

But a big question mark remains over Barcelona, Catalonia's biggest city run by Mayor Ada Colau, a left-wing former activist.

They have been told they will be arrested if they do not comply with the investigation and show up in court.

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The government of the wealthy northeastern region has pledged to hold a referendum on breaking away from Spain on October 1 in defiance of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has declared the event illegal and is bringing the weight of the state to bear to prevent it.

A man carries a sign that reads "Spain for sale" next to a huge banner reading "Independence Now" during a rally on Catalonia's national day "La Diada" in Barcelona, Spain, September 11, 2017. A political dialogue, from legitimacy that each one represents, to make possible what democracy is never a problem, nor still less a crime: "listen to voice of citizens".

Officials in Catalonia and the north-eastern region's capital, Barcelona, asked in a letter released on Friday for fresh dialogue on holding the vote with the government's permission. Hours earlier, Puigdemont had made a final appeal to prime minister Mariano Rajoy to negotiate a referendum in a letter which he also sent to King Felipe.

The letter accused the Spanish state of "an unprecedented repression offensive".

Spain's constitutional court suspended the action taken by the regional Parliament of Catalonia law on the procedure of the separation region.

Supporters of independence are celebrating already despite surveys indicating less than 50 percent of Catalonia's population want full self-rule.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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