Tuesday, November 10, 2015 12:31 am
Lawmakers in Catalonia officially kicked off a process Monday to secede from Spain by 2017, despite impassioned pleas against independence, in an unprecedented showdown with Madrid’s central government.
All 72 pro-independence lawmakers — the majority in the regional parliament — voted for a resolution to secede from the rest of the country, drawing huge applause that drowned out opposition MPs holding Spanish flags.
Catalonia’s independence movement is an increasingly prickly thorn in the side of conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who said his government would go to the Constitutional Court to challenge the resolution.
“I will sign a (legal) recourse of unconstitutionality and will ask for… the immediate suspension of this initiative and all its possible effects,” he said in a televised statement shortly after the vote.
– ‘Construction of a state’ –
The text calls on the regional assembly to start working on legislation within 30 days to create a separate social security system and treasury, with a view to complete independence in 18 months.
“Who wants to live in a state that goes after those who promote going to the polls?” said Mas, who is fighting a lawsuit over a symbolic vote on independence he staged last year.
“Who is attracted by a state that uses laws and courts to stifle democracy?
“No one can stop the will of a people moving decisively towards a better future. No lawsuit, no threat, no fear.”
Rajoy, though, has the support of the main opposition Socialists and new, popular centre-right group Ciudadanos.
“I was born in Catalonia and I want to keep living here,” Xavier Garcia Albiol of Rajoy’s ruling Popular Party (PP) said during the debate.