THE CATALAN QUESTION

Catalan parties attempt to harness Constitution for status vote drive

CiU and other pro-sovereignty forces agree to present resolution in Congress requesting referendum powers

The Catalan parliament on Monday agreed to fall back on a clause in the Spanish Constitution in the hope of pushing Congress to allow the region to hold its status vote next year.

The Catalan nationalist CiU bloc, Republican Left (ERC), the pro-independence CUP and the leftist-green ICV groupings announced that they will present a resolution in Congress seeking lawmakers' approval for the referendum by using Section 150.2 of the Spanish Constitution as a legal argument. That clause states that the national government "may transfer or delegate to the self-governing regions, through an organic act, some of its powers, which by their very nature can be transferred or delegated."

Nevertheless, there were signs that this strategy in trying to win over national lawmakers may not work. The Popular Party (PP), the Socialists (PSC) and Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) lawmakers voted against the proposal. These parties hold an ample majority in Congress.

Pro-independence Catalan parties said they hope to formalize the resolution in the Catalan parliament by December 4 at the latest. According to sources from the parties, this is similar to the legal framework that the UK government used to allow Scotland to hold its independence vote next year. Spain's PP government is against allowing the CiU administration of Artur Mas to hold the vote without the approval of Congress.

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