referendum row

Catalan officials downplay ruling striking down sovereignty declaration

Regional government spokesman lauds top court's decision for leaving door open for referendum

The Catalan regional government said late Tuesday that it was not surprised by the Constitutional Court’s ruling declaring Catalonia’s sovereignty declaration illegal.

“It won’t affect anything,” said Catalan regional government spokesman Francesc Homs in a television interview.

Nevertheless, Homs noted that the top court has left the door open for Catalans to decide their own political future.

In a unanimous decision on Tuesday, the Constitutional Court struck down the sovereignty declaration passed by the regional parliament on January 23, 2013 that identified the Catalan people as “a sovereign political and legal entity.” Nevertheless, the justices said the planned November 9 referendum was not illegal in itself as long as it was held under Spain’s constitutional framework.

For his part, Jordi Turull, the parliamentary leader of the ruling Catalan nationalist CiU bloc, called the ruling a political decision.

“The court is a political organ that disguises its rulings with legal terms,” he said, before going on to accuse the majority of the bench of aligning with the Popular Party (PP).

After the Catalan parliament passed the sovereignty declaration, the PP government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy filed a challenge with the top court last year.