Spain’s King Felipe VI has spoken for the first time about the political crisis sparked by the Catalan government’s plans to hold a referendum on the region’s independence.
He said the country must not be divided, adding; “The Constitution will prevail over any bankruptcy of that coexistence in democracy, as it is, has been and will be the basis of our life in common and freedom, the foundation of our progress and essential pillar of our EU membership.”
The Spanish government is taking court action to try and stop the referendum which is planned for October 1.
Prime minister Mariano Rajoy appealed to Catalans to ignore calls from independence supporters to turn out. “The Constitution is clearly not completely unchangeable, but all constitutions are created with the aim of being permanent. Look at the French in 1958, the Germans in 1949, the Italians in 1947, and the United States in 1787,” Rajoy said.
Supporters of independence insist the vote will go ahead even though the Constitutional Court has suspended it ahead of a ruling on its legality.