Catalonia halts independence vote campaign

Move comes after Spain's top court suspends the vote due to Madrid's appeals to declare it illegal.

    Catalonia halts independence vote campaign
    Catalonia says it is determined to hold a referendum "in conformity with the law" [Reuters]

    Catalonia's regional government has halted a publicity campaign for November 9 independence referendum after Spain's Constitutional Court suspended the vote.

    Francesc Homs, a spokesman for the Catalan government, said on Tuesday that the campaign was stopped so that Catalan public workers were not backed against a wall, but stressed Catalonia was "determined" to hold the vote.

    "Our goal is to continue and we will do things to fulfill our commitments in conformity with the law," Homs said.

    Spain suspends Catalonia independence vote

    On Monday, Spain's Constitutional Court suspended the referendum just hours after Madrid asked it to declare the vote illegal for breaching the constitution.

    The court said that it had accepted the appeal and had suspended the referendum while it considers the central government's arguments.

    Call for vote

    The head of the regional government of Catalonia, Artur Mas, signed a decree on Saturday calling for the vote.

    Since then a clock on Barcelona's Sant Jaume square has been ticking down to November 9 and television and radio stations in the region have aired adverts informing the public of the vote.

    Spain's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, said he "deeply" regretted Mas's move, saying it "divides Catalans, alienates them from Europe and the rest of Spain and seriously harms their welfare".

    In a televised address to the nation following an emergency cabinet meeting, Rajoy said the right to decide a region's status belonged to "all the Spanish people" under the country's 1978 constitution - the keystone of Spain's democracy after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco.

    "There is nothing and no one, no power nor institution, that can break this principle of sole sovereignty," he added.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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