This past Monday, the Parliament of Catalonia approved a resolution formally calling for the creation of a Catalonian state independent from Spain.
Separatist MPs representing the Together for Yes (JPS) coalition and the anti-austerity Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), used their majority to pass legislation pledging a “disconnection from the Spanish state” in favor of the “beginning of the process toward the creation of an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic” as reported by the Guardian.
The measure passed in the parliament by a vote of 72-63. The measure calls for the creation of a framework for the formal independence of Catalonia by the year 2017.
On Wednesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy harshly criticized the separatist movement saying that the measure was an attack on Spanish Sovereignty and Democracy.
“We’re talking about the defense of an entire country,” Rajoy said. “They are trying to liquidate the unity of a nation with more than five centuries of history.”
The Spanish Government has called upon the Constitutional Court to suspend the separatist resolution while the measure is being studied, and has warned Catalonian leadership not to take any further steps towards secession according to the Associated Press.
The resolution passed by the Catalonian Parliament on Monday exempts regional officials from having to obey the Constitutional Court or other Spanish institutions. The measure also authorizes MPs to begin drafting a Catalan constitution as well as creating tax-collecting and social security systems within the region.
According to Spanish law; however, Catalan leadership who disregard a possible court order against the resolution could face charges of disobedience, punishable by removal from office for up to two years and heavy fines.
The issue of Catalan independence is hardly new. The modern Catalan Separatist movement was formed following the repression of Catalan culture and language during the regime of General Francisco Franco.
Catalonia enjoys the greatest level of self-governance that it has enjoyed since backing the Bourbon dynasty came to power three centuries ago, according to John Hopkins University.
Catalonia is one of the wealthiest regions in Spain, representing nearly a fifth of Spain’s economic output. Initial polls show that the majority of Catalan’s support a referendum on independence, but are divided on the viability of an independent Catalan state.
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Cover Photo Credit: Andrew Crump/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)