[JURIST] An independence vote in Catalonia set for November 9 has been suspended after Spain’s central government filed an appeal [JURIST report] on Monday alleging the referendum would be illegal. The unanimous decision by the nation’s Constitutional Court [official website] to hear the government’s case automatically suspends the November vote until the court hears arguments and makes a decision. The government argues that the vote is unconstitutional. According to the Spanish constitution [text], all Spaniards must vote on issues of sovereignty. In the vote planned for November, only Catalans would be eligible to vote. A decision by the court could take months or even years.
Catalan independence has been a contentious issue in recent years. Earlier this month Catalan president Artur Mas [official website; in Catalan] 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 Spain’s parliament rejected [JURIST report] Catalonia’s proposed November referendum, which will ask voters if they want Catalonia to become a state, and, in the case of an affirmative response, if they want this state to be independent.