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Spain court declares Catalonia independence plan unconstitutional

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Spain [official website] on Wednesday declared unconstitutional [decision, PDF, in Spanish] a resolution by the Parliament of Catalonia [official website, in Catalan] that proposed a plan for the region's independence from Spain by 2017. The resolution was approved [JURIST report] by Catalonian lawmakers in November, and stated that Parliament would take the "necessary steps" to effect the separation from Spain in a peaceful and democratic manner and in a way that would empower citizens. The court held [press release, in Spanish] that the resolution violated Articles 1.1, 1.2 , 2, 9.1 and 168 of the Constitution [text] and Articles 1 and 2.4 of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia [text]. The resolution states that the separation of Catalan from Spain is not subject to the decisions of the Constitutional Court.

The Catalonia independence movement has gathered momentum in recent years following the economic crisis in the country that began in 2008. In September the High Court of Justice of Catalonia summoned [JURIST report] Catalonia President Artur Mas over his involvement in the 2014 independence referendum [JURIST report]. Last year Mas signed a decree [JURIST report] calling for a referendum on secession and independence from Spain, inciting confrontation from Spain's central government in Madrid. In February 2014 Spain's parliament rejected [JURIST report] Catalonia's proposed referendum, which asked voters if they wanted Catalonia to become a state, and, in the case of an affirmative response, if they wanted this state to be independent. When Catalonia proceeded with the referendum, the Constitutional Court held the independence vote to be unconstitutional [JURIST report].

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