[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Spain [official website, in Spanish] ruled [text, PDF, in Spanish] Wednesday that provisions of the Catallan budget that allocated funds to the upcoming independence referendum are illegal. The court held [Politico report] that any funds allocated to financing the October 1 referendum [JURIST report] are unconstitutional and therefore void. The ruling aligned with the Madrid government's strong opposition to Catalian independence. The Spanish government continues to argue that not only does the Spanish Constitution not allow for secession, but that funds intended for the referendum would be used illegally.
The Catalonia independence movement has gathered momentum in recent years following the economic crisis in the country that began in 2008. In 2015 the Constitutional Court of Spain declared unconstitutional [JURIST report] a resolution by the Parliament of Catalonia that proposed a plan for the region's independence from Spain by the end of this year. In September of 2015 the High Court of Justice of Catalonia summoned [JURIST report] Catalonia President Artur Mas over his involvement in the 2014 independence referendum [JURIST report]. In 2014 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].