• Spain's news in English

Madrid slams Catalonia's 'phoney' vote plans

George Mills · 14 Oct 2014, 12:56

Published: 14 Oct 2014 12:56 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The President of Catalonia Artur Mas unveiled the plans for the non-binding poll on Tuesday, a day after deciding to let go of his original wish for a November 9th vote, amid concerns it would lack sufficient legal standing.

Spain's conservative central government in Madrid had repeatedly said the non-binding referendum was unconstitutional and the country's Constitutional Court had suspended it while it examined whether the vote was legal.

Mas is now hoping to get around that, though, with a new 'consultation' which will still give people a chance in the region of 7.5 million people a chance to voice their opinion on whether they should split from Spain.

The poll won't have any legal weight, despite assertions from the Catalan president that the move is a "a giant step towards a definitive consultation".

In fact, it's a change of course that appears to have satisfied no one, with Mas conceding during Tuesday's two-hour public appearance that his independence bedfellows are not enamoured of the plan.

The first response from the central government in Madrid was far from positive either.

With Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy busy selling Spain's recovery at a business forum hosted by the Financial Times, it was left to PP parliamentary spokesperson  Alfonso Alonso to put the boot in.  

"It gave me the feeling he was putting up a smokescreen," Alonso said in comments cited by Catalan daily La Vanguardia.

Everyone knows there won't be a vote on November 9th "call it whatever you like", he added. 

Mas is "engaging in a legal con" but knows he can neither "jump over" or "go under" the law," said Alonso.

"At this time, and not to put too fine a point on it, it means president Mas has descended to ridicule," he added. 

The head of the Popular Party in Catalonia, Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, meanwhile, said the Catalan independence movement was over and that the new planned consultation "means nothing".

It's a "pretend vote" and a "big survey" with no legal relevance, said Sanchez-Camacho in a press conference.

While conceding such surveys were legal, she said in this case they are simply a means by which Mas hoped to "cheat Catalans" into believing the independence fight is not over.

Story continues below…

Asked about the possibility of regional elections which could act as a plebiscite on the independence issue, the PP regional party leader, said the Catalan government should be working towards solving problems and not constantly "threatening elections".  

The head of fellow anti-independence party Ciudadanos Albert Rivera also slammed Mas's plans, labelling them "ridiculous" and stressing his party would not get involved in a "fictitious vote".

The head of Spain's major opposition party the socialist PSOE joined the ranks of those blasting the new vote plans in Catalonia.

Mas can't keep cheating Catalan society because it generates frustration and division," he tweeted to his followers.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man rescued from bin after climbing in find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
jobs available