21:21 GMT09 August 2020
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    Spain’s Minister of Justice Rafael Catala said acting chairman of the Catalonian government, Artur Mas, will be treated "the same way as any other citizen who tries to the break rules and, of course, coercive measures that function in a law-based state will be taken."

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — If the acting chairman of the Catalonian government, Artur Mas, fails to abide by any legal decisions against the autonomous community's independence, he could be dismissed from office and law enforcement forces may be involved, Spain’s Minister of Justice Rafael Catala said Thursday.

    Last week, Mas appeared before Catalonia’s high court on accusations of civil disobedience and abuse of power by organizing the unofficial Catalonia secession vote on November 9, 2014, in which 80 percent of participants supported seceding from Spain. Madrid holds that Catalan secession is unconstitutional.

    Mas will be treated "the same way as any other citizen who tries to the break rules and, of course, coercive measures that function in a law-based state will be taken," Catala said in an interview with the Antena 3 television channel. According to the minister, such measures may involve law enforcement.

    Despite the fact that both houses of Spain’s parliament will be disbanded as their powers expire with the parliamentary elections due on December 20, the country "will not have a legal vacuum, which anyone can use for a declaration of independence," the minister said.

    If such a declaration takes place, it will be followed by an appeal to the Constitutional Court, according to Catala.

    Catalonia has long sought independence from Spain, accusing Madrid of constraining its economic and cultural autonomy.

    In September, the pro-independence Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) coalition and their allies from the radical left-wing Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party secured 72 seats in the 135-member Catalan parliament in regional elections.

    According to Mas, the parties received a clear mandate to establish an independent state of Catalonia.


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    Artur Mas, Rafael Catala, Catalonia, Spain
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