Government files legal challenge to Catalonia’s sovereignty declaration

Solicitor General’s Office claims region’s proclamation violates four clauses to the Constitution

Madrid - Mar 08, 2013 - 17:45

The Solicitor General’s Office on Friday filed a challenge with the Constitutional Court to the Catalonia’s sovereignty declaration passed last January by the regional parliament, according to judicial sources.

On March 1, the Cabinet agreed to ask the top court to rule unconstitutional the declaration that the Catalonia nationalist CiU bloc government of Artur Mas is using as preamble to an enabling law aimed at holding a vote on the region’s status within Spain next year.

The central government and Mas are at bitter odds over his coalition’s attempt to declare independence for the region by holding a sovereignty vote. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has warned the CiU that the referendum is illegal because, among other things, it does not have the approval of Congress and goes against the Spanish Constitution.

The Cabinet decided to challenge the controversial declaration passed on January 23, which identifies the region as a “sovereign, political and legal entity,” after the Council of State advised the Popular Party government that it violates at least four articles of the Constitution.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said after Friday’s Cabinet meeting that if the Constitutional Court agrees to study the challenge then lawmakers in Catalonia, who are drafting a bill to hold a referendum, will have to put their plans on hold until the case is resolved.

“As with all elected public officials, we have the obligation to respect due process and decisions, which in this case involves the Constitutional Court,” she said.

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