A day prior to the Catalonia Referendum

Catalan leaders are determined to hold the vote on October 1, defying the central Madrid government and a Constitutional Court ban and saying that the regional assembly in Barcelona will declare independence within 48 hours of a “yes” victory
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont urging supporters for a "yes" vote in the banned October 1 independence referendum - Photo: Albert Gea/REUTERS
30/09/2017
17:45
Newsroom & Agencies
Catalonia
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Madrid is facing one of its biggest political crisis since the end of the Franco dictatorship and the return of democracy four decades ago.

Last June, President Carles Puigdemont, Head of Catalonia, northeastern Spain, said that the region will hold a referendum on splitting from Spain on October 1 while the Spanish Government says it will block any independence vote in Catalonia, arguing such a vote is illegal and must not take place.

Under Article 155 of Spain’s Constitution, Madrid has the power to intervene in the running of Catalonia’s regional government, forcing it to drop the vote by sending in the police or suspending the regional government’s authority to rule.

As the independence struggle intensified, more than 700 mayors from Catalonia gathered in Barcelona to confirm their support for the referendum while the Spanish police raided several print shops and newspaper offices in a hunt for voting papers, ballot boxes, and leaflets to be used for the referendum earlier this month.

Last week, Spain sent between 3,000 and 4,000 state officers to Catalonia to block any moves to hold the banned independence referendum joining the 5,000 state police already based in the region.

The new officers would monitor public spaces, keep order and “act in case the illegal referendum is maintained,” the Spanish Ministry said in a statement.

Anyone in possession of the keys or entrance codes to a polling booth could be considered a collaborator to civil disobedience, malfeasance, and fund misappropriation.

On Friday, Spain’s government spokesman, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, affirmed that a planned vote in Catalonia on independence from Spain will not go ahead on Sunday, October 1.

“I insist that there will be no referendum on Oct. 1,” Mendez de Vigo said during a press conference following the weekly cabinet meeting, reiterating the government’s position that the vote was illegal.

These actions have provoked mass demonstrations and drawn accusations from Catalan leaders that the Madrid government was resorting to the repression of the Franco dictatorship.

A day prior to the referendum, Catalan leaders are determined to hold the vote on October 1, defying the central Madrid government and a Constitutional Court ban and saying that the regional assembly in Barcelona will declare independence within 48 hours of a “yes” victory.

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