Boosted by the huge turnout for a similar vote in Scotland, Spain’s Catalonia region will hold an independence referendum on November 9.
On Saturday, regional president Artur Mas signed a decree authorising the poll, supported by hundreds of protesters outside his office in Barcelona.
A large majority of the 7.5 million Catalan population is in favour of a vote, despite the national government’s demands that the Constitution Court decides whether the referendum can go ahead.
Separatist Jordi Ibars accused Madrid of playing dirty:
“Everything is being manipulated and engineered by Madird. What can we expect? They have appointed those people to decide. That’s not a Constitutional Court, that is Constitutional rubbish, set up by a rubbish government,” he said.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will return from China to hold a special cabinet meeting on Monday. His deputy Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told reporters:
“The nation’s government has the obligation to protect the rule of law and the rights of Spanish people. Therefore, I’d like to inform you that, this morning, we have taken the first steps to request a judicial review against the referendum decree.”
Some analysts think Mas will call early elections if the vote is blocked, which he would then use as a way to give Catalans a chance to vote on independence, anyway.