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Catalunya passes law allowing 'IndyRef' on October 1
CATALUNYA'S regional government has passed the required legislation to allow it to go ahead with its independence referendum on October 1, thrusting Spain's central Parliament into panic.
Enough pro-secession or at least, pro-decision parties in Catalunya voted in favour, meaning the 'no' votes of the right-wing PP, left-wing socialists and centre-right Ciudadanos – or Ciutadans, as they are known in the north-eastern region – were not enough to stop the controversial law reform going ahead.
Parties determined to make secession happen include those who make up the regional coalition government – the CUP and Junts pel Sí ('Together for Yes').
In total, 72 out of the 135 regional MPs voted for the law reform.
The regional Parliamentary debate went all literally all day, not finishing until 23.30 when Catalunya's president Carles Puigdemont signed the necessary decree.
Left-wing Podemos, whose Catalunya faction is known as SiQueEsPot and covers the Barcelona-based En Comú Podem, abstained, meaning 11 votes out of 135 lost to the separatists.
Podemos, at national level, is not necessarily in favour of Catalunya's independence, but would strongly support the public at least being allowed to vote.
Also at national level, PSOE (socialist) leader Pedro Sánchez is against the referendum altogether, but has proposed 'territorial changes' and urges Spanish president Mariano Rajoy, of the right-wing PP, to change his attitude.
Rajoy and his team has said from the start that a referendum is illegal as it goes against the Spanish Constitution, in force since December 1978 and barely amended since.
He has always refused to even discuss Catalunya's motives for requiring a referendum, and said if it goes ahead, its leaders will be guilty of sedition and face criminal charges.
Already, Puigdemont's predecessor Artur Mas and his aides have been hit with huge bail releases, running into around €5 million.
The new referendum legislation also sets out the bare bones upon which what could become the world's newest country would be built from scratch, and Rajoy has called for the Constitutional Court – the highest in the land and whose role is that of interpreting the country's Magna Carta – to halt the process.
Tomorrow morning (Thursday) a crisis meeting will take place within his cabinet and with leaders of the opposition.
The forthcoming vote, due to take place in less than a month, bears strong similarities to the Brexit referendum: Catalunya's president has pledged to declare independence within 48 hours if the public decides, and a majority above 50% will be considered sufficient.
Support for Catalunya's independence – which would mean it also had to leave the European Union by default – has grown due to the State government's refusal to discuss it and what the people of Catalunya consider a 'dictatorial' attitude.
Part of this attitude includes threatening to suspend Puigdemont from his presidential role for flouting the Constitution, but Puigdemont says Catalunya's laws protect him from this fate and that these would take precedence if the region was declared independent.
Threats of fines for those willing to be involved in organising the polls have not put them off, although Catalunya has had a clean-up of dissenting public sector figureheads – in fact, the region's military police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, has recently lost its chief Albert Batllè, who quit in July.
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