The Catalan Parliament voted to hold an independece referendum on 1 October
SPANISH prosecutors have threatened to raise criminal charges against Catalan MPs, after the region vowed to hold an independence referendum in October.
The Catalan regional parliament voted in favour of a bill to allow the wealthy region to legally hold a referendum, despite opposition from the Spanish Government in Madrid.
Constitutional courts in Spain have ruled the move illegal.
“We have the chance to decide becoming a state. It does not belong to any government or court.” Catalan President
Director of Public Prosecutions José Manuel Maza said his actions had been: "Caused by Catalan government leaders who, acting in violation of the Constitution and of the (Catalan) Statute of Autonomy and blatantly disobeying reiterated rulings from the Constitutional Court, have called the so-called self-determination referendum."
The Catalan regional, pro-independence coalition, managed to pass the legislation by 72 votes that will see the referendum take place on 1 October.
Fifty-two opposition MPs walked out of the Catalonian parliament in Barcelona in protest of the vote.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, said:“We have the chance to decide becoming a state. It does not belong to any government or court.
“The world that progresses is the one taking which takes decisions, and Catalonia is part of this world.
"Therefore, it will democratically decide on 1 October,” he added.
“To decide through the ballot boxes, listen to the people, accept their verdict. That is democracy."
“To decide through the ballot boxes, listen to the people, accept their verdict. That is democracy." Catalan president
Should they secure a "Si" vote, the Catalonian Government is expected to declare itself independent within 48 hours of the result.
But Catalonia's open defiance of Spain could see ministers prosecuted under Spanish law.
Catalan president Artur Has was banned from holding public office for two years, after holding a "symbolic" referendum in 2014, in which 80 per cent of voters decided on independence.
He has reportedly been ordered to pay £4.7m in costs for holding the the referendum.
Catalans are believed to be in favour of a vote to settle the argument on independence, but figures suggset they are split on the potential outcome.
According to a poll in July, 49 per cent favoured a “no” vote, with only 41 per cent expected to vote “si”.
Picture courtesy of Rob Shenk
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