The Catalan government’s bid to split the north-eastern region from the rest of Spain took a step forward Monday when members of its Parliament passed a draft resolution paving the way for independence.
The regional Parliament in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, voted 72-63 to enact a road map that lays out the steps towards founding an independent republic.
The central government in Madrid immediately responded by asking Spain’s Constitutional Court to void the resolution.
“Catalonia will not split off,” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said while on a visit to the western town of Bejar. “My government will not allow the process to continue.”
An emergency government meeting is scheduled Wednesday in Madrid when Rajoy’s conservative administration plans to draft its constitutional appeal against the Catalan Parliament’s decision, the Spanish premier said.
The yes -votes came from an alliance of separatist parties called Together for Yes, which won a parliamentary majority in September’s regional elections.
Catalan Prime Minister Artur Mas has argued that the coalition’s election victory amounted to a democratic mandate for independence.
The new resolution calls on Madrid to enact the laws necessary to build an independent Catalonia.
Raul Romeva of Together for Yes has vowed that “legalistic artillery” from Rajoy’s conservative government will not hold back the region’s fight for sovereignty.
Catalan opposition leader Ines Arrimadas, however, accused the separatists of placing themselves above the law, referring to the parliamentary outcome as “the greatest challenge to Spanish democracy in the past 30 years.”