Spain’s Constitutional Court has suspended a resolution passed by Catalonia's parliament setting out a roadmap for the wealthy northeastern region’s independence.
Following a special meeting on Wednesday, the court’s 11 judges unanimously accepted an appeal, filed hours earlier by Spain's central government, against the resolution.
Based on the decision, the Catalonian resolution will be suspended until judges consider legal arguments.
Earlier, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy legally challenged the independence drive, saying, “This is a blatant disregard for the state’s institutions. They are trying to do away with democracy. I will not allow it.”
“They are trying to eliminate national sovereignty, to take away from Spaniards and many in Catalonia the right to decide what the country is, that does not happen in any country in the world and less so in the 21st century,” he noted.
The remarks came just two days after Catalonia’s regional parliament approved the resolution, urging the assembly to start working on legislation within 30 days to set up a separate treasury and social security system with the aim of forming a Catalan republic in 18 months.
The region of 7.5 million inhabitants has already a large degree of autonomy in areas such as health, education and policing. However, many Catalans complain that a high portion of their taxes goes to the central government in Madrid.