Spanish Court suspends Catalan independence referendum line items from budget
The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) accepted this Tuesday the suit presented by the Spanish Government which claimed that those line items in the 2017 Catalan budget oriented toward calling a referendum this September were illegal. The magistrates, which met in an extraordinary session to address only this matter, unanimously agreed to suspend these budget items for a period of 5 months, which could be extended if necessary. Rajoy’s Executive also wants Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, and the other members of the Catalan Government to be personally notified of the suspension as well as the penal consequences of ignoring it. In particular, the TC suspended two line items: one establishes €5 million for electoral processes and €0.8 million for participation and the other refers to the possibility of calling a referendum with or without the Spanish State's permission.
Barcelona (CNA).- The 2017 Catalan budget, which includes allocations for calling a referendum in September this year, has been temporarily suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). In particular, the magistrates have found two sections unconstitutional: one is the allocation which establishes €5 million for electoral processes and €0.8 million for participation and the other is the 40th additional provison, which refers to the possibility of calling a referendum with or without the Spanish State's agreement. The TC—which met in an extraordinary session with only this topic on the agenda—unanimously agreed to accept the Spanish Government’s suit and to suspend these line items for a period of at least 5 months. Rajoy’s Executive also wants Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and the other members of the Catalan Government to be personally notified of the suspension as well as of the penal consequences of ignoring it. The 2017 Catalan budget was passed two weeks ago thanks to the votes of the pro-independence parties in the Parliament: governing coalition ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical-left CUP.
Catalan VP and Minister for Economy, Oriol Junqueras, commented on the TC’s suspension and assured on Twitter that the court “won’t be able to suspend neither freedom nor democracy”.
The Parliament’s legal services already warned on the day the bill was passed that by doing so the chamber could be ignoring the TC. Indeed, the Spanish body called to impede or block any initiative emerged from the pro-independence declaration of the 9-N, which was already suspended.
The 40th additional provision of the budget, which refers to the possibility to call a referendum either agreed with the Spanish State or unilaterally, has been the main focus of discussion. Indeed, the main parties in the opposition, Spanish Unionist Ciutadans, Catalan People’s Party (PP) and Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) considered the budget to contradict the Spanish Constitution, since calling a referendum is not an attributed competence of the Government and therefore this authorisation can’t be foreseen in the budget.
The bill, besides considering the referendum, it allocates €17.8 billion to social expenditure.