Defiant Catalonia sets up independence referendum body
BARCELONA - Agence France-Presse
President of the Catalonian regional government Artur Mas (C) sits during a meeting of Catalan independent parties following a Spanish constitutional court ruling stopping Catalonia from holding an independence referendum, in Barcelona on October 3, 2014. AFP PhotoThe Catalan government on Oct. 3 published a decree creating a supervisory body for a referendum on independence from Spain on November 9, despite a court order that the vote be suspended.
Catalan president Artur Mas signed the decree setting up a seven-member "control commission", a type of electoral authority for the referendum, late on Thursday but it was not clear when it would go into operation.
Catalan lawmakers approved the creation of the supervisory body in a tense session on Wednesday with 86 votes in favour and 48 abstentions.
The move came just two days after Spain's Constitutional Court suspended the non-binding refetrendum following an appeal by Spain's central government, which argues the vote violates the constitution.
The rich northeastern region of Catalonia, which is home to over 7.5 million people, has been locked in a battle with Spain's central government over its right to hold a referendum on independence.
The central government has repeatedly insisted that any regional vote on independence would be illegal, pointing out that the country's 1978 constitution means major questions must be put to all Spaniards and that only they can call a referendum.