Spain’s government has asked the Constitutional Court to stop Catalonia’s independence vote. Fears over the ailing Spanish market have bolstered the secessionist movement in the economically vital northeastern region.
In a televised address on Monday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (pictured) confirmed that his government had filed an appeal with the country's top court over an upcoming referendum in Catalonia.
"Neither the object, nor the proceedings of the vote are compatible with the Spanish constitution," Rajoy said.
Catalonian President Artur Mas signed a formal decree over the weekend, which called the referendum to be held on November 9, defying previous warnings from Madrid that allowing the vote to go forward would be illegal.
Threats of leaving Spain have raised fears that such a break off would greatly harm the already ailing Spanish economy.
Catalonia's 7.5 million inhabitants make up roughly 16 percent of Spain's total population. The vibrant region, however, boasts the highest GDP in the country. According to figures from the European Commission, Catalonia's exports account for 20 percent of Spain's total exports. Moreover, Catalonia holds roughly 25 percent of foreign investments in Spain.
The region also has a strong cultural identity, which has thrived in part through the preservation of the Catalan language.
On Monday, Prime Minister Rajoy reiterated that the secession of Catalonia was out of the question.
"There is nothing and no one, no power nor institution, that can break this principle of sole sovereignty."
kms/se (AP, AFP, Reuters)