Spanish parliament rejects Catalonia referendum

After a seven-hour debate in the national parliament in Madrid, and despite heavy support for the separatist movement in the wealthy northeastern region, 299 lawmakers voted against, 47 voted for and one abstained, rejecting the referendum on independence of Catalonia., reports EurActiv.com.

 The regional parliament of Catalonia, which has its own language and a long history of fighting for greater autonomy from Spain, sent the initiative to the national legislature in January asking for permission to hold a referendum.

 ”They are afraid that the Catalan people vote. Some would like to present this as the end of the matter but, as President of Catalonia, I say to them that it is not the end,” Mas said in a live speech in Catalan immediately after votes were counted.

 ”Catalan institutions will search through the legal frameworks to find a way to continue with this consultation.”

 Catalan lawmakers said the movement had already gained too much momentum to stop the referendum completely.

 All the major parties, including the ruling conservative People’s Party (PP), the main opposition group, the Socialists, and the centrist Union for Progress and Democracy (UPyD), voted against the petition. Catalan and Basque nationalist parties voted in favour.

Spain’s Constitutional Court and the country’s political leaders have rejected the proposed regional referendum as illegal, arguing that decisions on sovereignty can be made only at the national level.

Source: EurActiv