This weekend, the leader of Spain's Catalonia region officially approved a vote on independence Nov. 9—but the Spanish government has quickly come down against it. Today, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the referendum, at odds with the country's constitution, couldn't be held, the New York Times reports. And Spain's Constitutional Court has also moved against the vote, at least temporarily: The court suspended the referendum as it mulls the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports. The same court earlier ruled the vote was illegal.
What happens next is an open question. Protests in the region could continue, and Catalan President Artur Mas could even hold the vote against the court's wishes; that "would be a real earthquake for the EU, forcing other Europeans to enter uncharted waters and take sides in a national dispute that has no precedent," says a researcher. But "the most probable scenario" is early elections in the region, an expert tells the Journal—and they could usher in a Catalan ruling party that backs independence even more than the current Convergence and Union coalition. A majority of Catalans appear to support a vote, though opinion on independence itself is divided, the Times reports. (Read more Catalonia stories.)