Rajoy attempts to checkmate 1-O vote

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

Spanish prime minister trusts TC appeal of Catalan fat-track law will make any move by Puigdemont illegal

Catalonia Today (El Punt Avui group) David Portabella – Madrid

In the game of chess between Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, the latter believes he can go on holiday having checkmated the October 1 referendum. Rajoy yesterday announced his government had submitted an appeal to the Constitutional Court (TC in Spanish) to overturn the Catalan bill passed this week to fast-track bills that can be used to pass the legislation needed for the referendum. With the TC set to deal with the appeal on Monday, Rajoy believes he has put an end to the vote on independence, with any new step Puigdemont may take leading to illegality. “Catalan society needs to be protected from a radical and divisive project recklessly imposed. There will be no referendum on October 1,” Rajoy pledged.

In the traditional end-of-term conference, Rajoy announced yet another appeal in the TC that La Moncloa hopes will be definitive. For Rajoy, the only purpose of the new Catalan regulation speeding up the passage of bills is “to urgently pass, without democratic guarantees, the laws intended to destroy national sovereignty, the Constitution and the Statute.” In his fight against the referendum, Rajoy assumes he has the support of PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez and the head of Ciutadans, Albert Rivera, although yesterday he did not inform them personally.

With the appeal expected to be upheld by the TC, Rajoy believes he has won a fortnight’s truce in which the pro-independence parties, JxSí and CUP, will hold off from new initiatives that could be seen as illegal while the parliament bureau admits the passage of a ‘disconnection’ law.

Yet, while Rajoy travels to Galicia for his holidays, Spanish ministers will have to be locatable in case there is a new step by the Catalan government.