Spain’s constitution court has suspended Monday’s highly anticipated session of the Catalan parliament.
Catalan president Charles Puigdemont has indicated that the region could declare independence next week once lawmakers had agree on the move at Monday session.
The court’s ruling follows a challenge from Catalonia’s Socialist Party, which does not want the region to break away from Spain.
Judges “ordered the suspension of the plenary that has been called for Monday in the (Catalan) parliament” while it hears the appeal lodged against it, a spokeswoman said, as the court confirmed the ruling in a written statement.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has warned Catalonia’s regional government against declaring independence in the wake of last Sunday’s illegal vote, and refuses to enter into dialogue with Puigdemont, describing his referendum policy and threats to declare independence as “political blackmail”.
The Consitutional Court has rules that any unilateral declaration on the part of the Catalonian regional government would be “a breach of the constitution”, and that it would “violate the rights of MPs”, thus upholding the challenge brought by the Socialist Party of Catalonia, which opposes a split and has 13 MPs in the 135-seat regional parliament.
An earlier ruling by the court aimed at stopping last Sunday’s referendum was ignored by Catalonia’s leaders, so this latest ruling may be seen as just a temporary setback.
Meanwhile, Mariano Rajoy is coming under increasing pressure from all quarters, both within Spain and elsewhere in Europe, to enter into dialogue with the Catalan separatists to prevent further unrest in the region.
Mr Rajoy today warned of “greater damage” if Catalan separatists went ahead with a unilateral declaration of independence.