Spanish Constitutional Court suspends Catalan declaration on sovereignty

State Attorney argues that only the whole "Spanish people" can be a sovereign subject · Court still to make a final decision on the declaration · Catalan president says "the road" towards a referendum on Catalan statehood "goes on"

The Spanish Constitutional Court has suspended the declaration on the sovereignty of the Catalan people, which had been passed by the Parliament of Catalonia last January. The suspension follows an appeal against the declaration by the Spanish government. The Court has accepted the appeal and therefore the declaration will be suspended until the Court makes a final decision on it.

The State Attorney (which is dependent on the Spanish ministry of Justice) argues that the Catalan declaration "defies" the Spanish Constitution, Spanish newspaper El Paísreports. The State Attorney also considers that there is one and only single sovereignty in Spain, namely that of the "Spanish people", and thus only a decision by the whole Spanish population could validate a referendum in Catalonia.

The Spanish government thereby tries to prevent the Catalan government from calling a referendum on Catalan statehood. Calling a referendum on the future political status of Catalonia was agreed by CiU and ERC by the end of 2012.

The Spanish Constitutional Court is made up of 12 judges. Eight of them are nominated by the Spanish Parliament, two by the Spanish government, and two by the General Council of the Judiciary. This means that, in the end, major Spanish political parties PP and PSOE have de facto power to decide on the Court composition.

This is the same court that cut back key articles of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy in 2010, efectivelly dilluting any progress in Catalonia's autonomy.

Catalan president: "Road goes on"

Catalan president Artur Mas has reacted to the suspension by saying that it is "deeply disappointing and highly worrisome" from a democratic point of view. But he has assured that "the road [towards the referendum] goes on" irrespective of what the Constitutional Court may decide, Catalan newspaper Ara writes.

In the resolution that has now been suspended, the Parliament of Catalonia declared the Catalan people "a sovereign political and legal subject". The declaration was supported by centre-right sovereignist CiU, centre-left pro-independence ERC, and ecosocialist sovereignist ICV, plus one member of democratic socialist pro-independence CUP. All in all, 85 out of 135 MPs supported the declaration.

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