Published: Fri, September 15, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Catalonia: More than 700 Mayors Called to Court

Catalonia: More than 700 Mayors Called to Court

Jucker said on Thursday that Catalonia would not be able to join the European Union on the next day after a possibly successful independence vote and would have to undergo a standard accession procedure just like the states which have joined the bloc after 2004.

Furious at the decision to instigate a probe, Catalan municipal associations called on all the region's mayors to protest in Barcelona on Saturday to show their "rejection of a Spanish judicial system that goes after the media, ballot papers, ballot boxes... and now mayors".

 President of the Catalan Government Carles Puigdemont speaks to reporters after a pro-independence demonstration on September 11.

So far 712 out of 948 municipalities have agreed to participate by providing polling locations.

"They can arrest us, they're insane!" "They're insane!", David Rovira, the pro-separatist mayor of L'Espluga de Francoli, a town of some 3,800 residents, told AFP by phone, adding that Madrid had "proposed nothing" to appease Catalonia's demands for greater autonomy.

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However, the Spanish government has declared the referendum, the campaign, and any events in support of the referendum illegal, including the kickoff rally.

In a boost for the credibility of the referendum, the mayor of Barcelona said earlier on Thursday that the vote would go ahead in the city, having previously expressed concern that civil servants involved may lose their jobs. A solid turnout is considered key for the referendum's legitimacy, although there is no minimum required for the results to be valid.

Later on Wednesday, the Catalan government's website for information on the vote, referendum.cat, was taken offline.

Rafael Nadal didn't back down when, less than 24 hours after winning US Open title, he was asked what he thought about the referendum in Spain to decide the Catalan independence.

Rajoy on Wednesday urged Catalans to boycott the referendum.

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"If anyone urges you to go to a polling station, don't go", Rajoy said.

Catalonia's parliament has laid the ground for a referendum on independence from Madrid on October 1, although Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended the vote.

He said Wednesday the rights of all Spaniards will be upheld against "whoever steps outside constitutional and statutory law".

Catalonia, which is roughly the size of Belgium, accounts for one-fifth of Spain's economic output.

"The will of the (Catalan) government is to continue to focus on dialogue and the exercise of democracy as a way to resolve the debate on political relations between Catalonia and Spain", the letter said. A survey conducted by the regional government's Centre for Opinion Polls found that 49.4% of Catalans are against secession, versus 41.4% in favour of it. But over 70 percent want a referendum to take place to settle the matter, similar to the plebiscite held in Scotland in 2014.

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