Catalonia sovereignty declaration stays suspended

Constitutional Court votes unanimously to uphold central government's appeal

The Constitutional Court has unanimously decided to maintain the suspension of the January 23 Catalan government's declaration of the region's sovereignty, judicial sources said Thursday.

The declaration, which identified the Catalan people as a "sovereign political and legal entity," was initially ruled void in May following an appeal by the central government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on the grounds that it breached the article in the Constitution upholding the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation."

The government of the northeastern region is also pressing to be allowed to hold a referendum that would allow Catalans to vote on regional independence.

The court backdated the suspension to be effective as of March, when the central government filed its appeal.

However, last month Catalan government lawyers requested the immediate lifting of the suspension. As a result, the Constitutional Court was obliged to rule again on the suspension before the five-month window it has available to reach its final verdict on the declaration's legality elapsed.

In its ruling released Thursday, the Constitutional Court said the issue at stake was a matter of "great constitutional significance" and as such merited the time necessary in order to reach a definitive conclusion.

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