Spain's Worst Political Crisis in Decades Just Got More Heated

Top court orders Catalonia's parliament to suspend a planned session
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 6, 2017 2:26 AM CDT
Court Moves to Block Catalan Declaration of Independence
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont speaks during a statement in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday.   (Jordi Bedmar)

Spain's Constitutional Court has ordered Catalonia's parliament to suspend a planned session next week during which separatist lawmakers wanted to declare independence—further fueling Spain's worst political crisis in decades. Catalan regional authorities have ignored previous Constitutional Court orders, so it wasn't immediately clear if the session would go ahead and if all parties would attend, the AP reports. The court said its order could be appealed but also warned Carme Forcadell, speaker of the Catalan parliament, and other members of the speakers' board that they could face prosecution for failing to halt the session. Forcadell called the suspension a "violation of freedom of speech."

"I won't allow censorship to enter parliament," she said, without clarifying if the meeting would go ahead or not. Earlier, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urged the separatist leader of the regional Catalan government, Carles Puigdemont, to cancel plans for declaring independence in order to avoid "greater evils." In an interview with Spain's official EFE news agency, Rajoy said the solution in Catalonia "is the prompt return to legality and the affirmation, as early as possible, that there will be no unilateral declaration of independence." Rajoy's remarks were the first since Sunday, when Catalonia held a banned referendum on independence amid police violence that injured hundreds. (More Catalonia stories.)

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