On 2 December 2015 the Constitutional Court of Spain, pictured, revoked the resolution passed by the Parlament de Catalunya the previous month to start the Catalan secession process. The plan was to establish autonomous rule by 2017.
Statement of Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during the investitutre of Catalonia’s new president, Carles Puigdemont, made at the Moncloa presidential palace on 10 January 2016.
I appear before you to set out the assessment of the Government of the Nation on the political programme proposed by the candidate to the Presidency of the Regional Government of Catalonia at the plenary session of the investiture being held in the Regional Parliament of Catalonia.
. . .The investiture speech made by the new candidate [is] based on an already proven unlawful action. The speech was a repetition of that made by Artur Mas on 9 November [which] the rule of law has certified [as] lack[ing] any democratic legitimacy.
On 2 December, the Constitutional Court made it clear that the pro-sovereignty resolution of 9 November cannot be upheld. It has been overturned for all legal effects because it goes against the principle of democracy, the Spanish Constitution and the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, and because it is in clear violation of the rights of the Spanish people, and also and above all, of those who live in Catalonia.
. . .We now have more instruments than ever before to defend. . . the unity of the nation.
. . .The majority of Spanish society is united in the face of this breakaway challenge, while the pro-sovereignty intentions in Catalan society have only served to cause uncertainty and division, culminating in today’s plenary session of investiture in extremis of a new person who [was not even] a candidate [at the outset].
I would like to remind all the members of the Regional Parliament of Catalonia that the State remains operational and that our democracy is as strong as ever, regardless of whether [what we have at present is] an acting government or not.
. . . I have issued instructions that any action that may be taken by the new Regional Government of Catalonia, by its Regional President, by the Regional Parliament and any other institution that may violate the Spanish Constitution and its legal system will be responded to under the rule of law. . .
I would like to make it clear to the Spanish people that they can remain calm. An independence process outside of the law will not be initiated, nor will structures be created outside of those legitimately established by the State. The government will not allow a single action to take place that goes against our unity and sovereignty, that is unlawful or goes against Spanish case law.
. . .I will defend and uphold democracy throughout Spain. And I will defend its main principle, which is the sovereignty that resides in the Spanish people as a whole.”
Source: Gobierno de España La Moncloa
Regional president elect Carles Puigdemont pooh-poohed the above statement, saying it was made by an acting prime minister and is therefore just a passing statement. He also declared that he wasn’t interested in what the acting prime minister said because it is based on an obsolescent project (“un projecto que se acaba“).
Nor is Puigdemont intimidated by Rajoy’s warning that the full force of law would be brought to bear on those who embark on the illegal secession: “If we let ourselves be paralyzed by fear, we will never progress [in our endeavor to establish an independent Catalan nation].”
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