Spanish court suspends Catalonia independence vote

Scottish repercussions for Catalonia
Scottish repercussions for Catalonia

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Story highlights

  • A top Spanish court suspends Catalonia's referendum on independence
  • The vote was set this weekend for November 9
  • The federal government filed a lawsuit calling the vote unconstitutional
A referendum over Catalonia's future as a part of Spain has been put on hold.
Spain's Constitutional Court on Monday suspended the planned referendum on independence for Spain's Catalonia region set to happen on November 9, a court spokeswoman told CNN.
The court has suspended the referendum as it consider the grounds of a lawsuit issued by Spain's federal government that challenged the planned independence vote as "unconstitutional."
The President of the Catalonia region, Artur Mas, on Saturday had signed a decree setting the date for the vote.
Even before the Constitutional Court suspended the plan, the federal government had made it clear that it any such referendum. A legal and political confrontation was expected.
The next move is in Catalonia's hand -- and whether its leaders decide to go ahead with the vote anyway.
The holding of Scotland's independence referendum earlier this month buoyed other separatist movements around the world, despite Scottish voters opting to remain part of the United Kingdom.
Mas has said that Catalonia wants to speak, wants to be heard and wants to vote.
On September 11, Catalan national day, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Barcelona for the third year running demanding a vote on independence be held.
But Madrid argues that Catalonia, which represents one fifth of Spain's economy, already has broad home-rule powers, including its own parliament, police force and control over education and health. And it insists that the Spanish Constitution does not allow any of Spain's 17 regions to unilaterally break away.
Catalonia is a region of northeastern Spain, with Barcelona -- the second-largest city in Spain -- as its capital.
A referendum is expected to ask a two-part question: "Should Catalonia be a state?" And those who vote yes to that can then go to vote on the second question: "Should that state be independent?"
Polls indicate that a majority of Catalans want to have a chance to vote but that less than a majority would vote for independence, given the chance.