• ‘Tribunal Constitucional’ unanimously suspends budget for up to five months
• Court issues warns Puigdemont, 18 others to desist or risk criminal liability
Spain’s Tribunal Constitucional (Constitutional Court) met in extraordinary session on Tuesday and agreed to temporarily suspend the budget of the regional government of Catalonia for a period of up to five months while the court considers whether or not budget line items pertaining to the funding of an independence referendum for Catalonia are in violation of the Spanish Constitution.
Originally scheduled to hold its first meeting on April 25th, the newly appointed judges of the Constitutional Court met in an early extraordinary session yesterday following the Spanish government’s filing of a complaint last week alleging that the Catalan government violated the Spanish Constitution’s prohibition on holding any referendum or plebiscite related to the secession or independence from Spain of any of the country’s 17 autonomous regions.
In its ruling Tuesday, the court unanimously voted to temporarily suspend the Catalan budget while it considers the matter and also issued warnings to 19 public officials of the Catalan government — including Catalonia’s president, Carles Puigdemont — that they could be held criminally liable for any actions they may take to further the process of funding an independence vote in Catalonia.
Puigdemont has said publicly that his government will proceed with an independence referendum in Catalonia later this year, either by mutual agreement with the government of Spain’s President Mariano Rajoy or unilaterally without the approval of the Spanish government. Rajoy has steadfastly refused to negotiate any referendum or plebiscite that would enable Catalans to vote on independence, saying it is a clear violation of the Spanish Constitution.