Spain: Catalonia drops 'illegal' independence referendum but plans 'citizens' consultation'

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Spain: Catalonia drops 'illegal' independence referendum but plans 'citizens' consultation'

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The head of the Catalonia region says that an alternative form of consultation on independence from Spain will go ahead next month after the country’s Constitutional Court ruled against a fully-fledged referendum.

Artur Mas said the new vote, still to be held on November 9, would be within the law.

He told reporters in Barcelona:

“The Catalan government is going to hold this consultation within existing legal frameworks which give us jurisdiction as far as civic participation is concerned.”

Mas admitted that there had been divisions in the separatist camp within the wealthy northeastern region but said the real adversary was in Madrid.

“I have no doubt about the adversary. The real adversary is the Spanish state which has done everything in its power to try to stop the Catalan people from taking part in a consultation,” he said.

Mas said he backed the organisation of subsequent regional elections in which all pro-independence parties would stand on a joint independence ticket.

The decision to abandon the referendum proper was welcomed as “excellent news” by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has called for dialogue with the Catalan people.