Madrid and Catalonia’s independence row intensified on Tuesday, after the Spanish government ordered an investigation against the head of its autonomous Catalonia region for calling a 2014 referendum.
Mr Mas must appear before judges at Catalonia’s superior court of justice on October 15 to testify after the Spanish state prosecutor’s office accused the regional leader and two other members of his government at the time of the referendum of several crimes, including misuse of public funds in the organisation of the vote.
The pro-independence parties said ahead of the vote that they considered it a de facto referendum on independence from Spain.
The main separatist alliance and a small pro-independence party won 72 of the 135 regional parliament seats.
For example, CDC is the product of the breakup of Convergence and Union (CiU), the biggest secessionist force until earlier this year, when a splinter group – which failed to get representatives into the legislature on Sunday – decided it wanted nothing to do with Mas’s attempts to force Spain to approve Catalonia’s break-off.
Separately, Spain’s government is now fast-tracking a bill through parliament which would give the country’s Constitutional Court the power to suspend elected officials while their actions were being reviewed on the suspicion of being anti-constitutional.
“Junts pel Si” and CUP had said before the vote that such a result would allow them to unilaterally declare independence within 18 months, under a plan that would see the new Catalan authorities approving their own constitution and building institutions like an army, central bank and judicial system.
The Catalan nationalists want the Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to lose that election.
Catalan “independentistes” instantaneously held upon the litigation to illustrate of this very legalistic intransigence from Madrid bases which has done much to effectively activate Mr Mas’s sensation on Sunday.
Catalan leader Artur Mas announced the party’s victory at a rally in Barcelona. Yet does that mean the four non-separatist parties just topping half the vote marked a clear voice in favour of rejection or indeed anything? “I hope it all turns out well and that the result of the general election in December will help”, she also said.
Opinion polls show a majority of Catalans would like to remain within Spain if the region were offered a more favourable tax regime and laws that better protect language and culture.