The Spanish Constitutional Court on Nov. 4 suspended (PDF) the Catalonia region's upcoming symbolic vote to gauge public sentiment for independence. The unanimous decision to hear the government's appeal effectively bans the vote until the parties present arguments and the court makes a ruling. This vote was planned as an alternative to a referendum on independence that the court suspended in September. The decision was based on Article 161.2 of the Spanish Constitution, which states that the government can appeal resolutions and provisions adopted by the "autonomous communities" of Spain. As more than two million Catalans planned to vote on Nov. 9, and extensive plans had already been made, the Catalan government intends to proceed with the vote despite the constitutional court's ruling.
Catalan independence has been an increasingly contentious topic in recent years, concerning issues of economic, political and cultural differences between Catalonia and the Spanish government. The initial November referendum planned to ask voters if they want Catalonia to become a state, and, in the case of an affirmative response, if they want this state to be independent. Catalan president Artur Mas in September signed a decree calling for a referendum on secession from Spain, inciting a confrontation with Spain's central government. In February Spain's parliament had rejected Catalonia's proposed referendum.
From Jurist, Nov. 4. Used with permission.