Sunday 21 January 2018

Madrid vows to enforce 'civic order' as Catalan leaders back independence poll

Balconies decorated with Esteladas or pro independence flags and also a Spanish flag are seen in Barcelona, Spain (AP)
Balconies decorated with Esteladas or pro independence flags and also a Spanish flag are seen in Barcelona, Spain (AP)

There will not be a referendum on Catalonia's independence on Sunday, the cabinet spokesman for Spain's government said as the vice-president of the region predicted the majority of eligible voters would turn out.

Madrid's culture minister Inigo Mendez de Vigo accuses the secessionist coalition ruling the northeastern region of bending the laws to go ahead with a vote regardless of warnings from courts and a suspension by the country's Constitutional Court earlier this month.

Catalan authorities say they will declare independence within 48 hours after announcing the vote's results if the yes side wins.

The Spanish government has fought the referendum with a myriad of legal actions criticised by many in Catalonia.

"The government has a constitutional mandate to enforce the laws maintaining civic order," Mr Mendez de Vigo said on Friday during a regular weekly press briefing.

"Nobody is above the laws and whoever violates them will face consequences."

However, Catalonia's vice-president said more than six out of 10 voters are expected to take part in the poll despite the crackdown from Madrid.

Oriol Junqueras said Catalan citizens will be able to vote "even if somebody takes voting stations by assault and tries to avoid something as natural as placing a voting slip in a ballot".

Spain's Constitution says only the nation's government can call a referendum on sovereignty.

Police forces acting on judges' orders have seized ballots and arrested regional officials in the crackdown.

Mr Junqueras said an internal poll showed more than 60% of the 5.3 million eligible voters plan to cast ballots.

He displayed a prototype of the plastic ballot boxes planned for more than 2,300 voting stations.

AP

Press Association

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News