MADRID (Sputnik) — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court about non-compliance with the court rulings by the Catalan parliament, which on Wednesday started discussing the law on a referendum, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said in a speech broadcast by the 24 Horas television channel Wednesday.
According to the deputy prime minister, the government requested the Constitutional Court to recognize illegal the decisions made Wednesday by Catalan lawmakers and "study measures" against Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell.
"We will launch all initiatives that will enable us to protect the constitution and democracy. They [the supporters of Catalonia's independence] have demonstrated that they do not respect either Catalonia or the Catalans," Santamaria said.
It is expected that the bill might be approved later in the day, as pro-referendum parties Together for Yes and the Popular Unity Candidacy hold the majority of seats in the parliament.
The bill was submitted to the parliament outside of its normal schedule which prompted criticism from opposition parties. Catalonia's government, or Generalitat, will sign the draft legislation on October 1 following its adoption by parliament.
According to the Generalitat, the draft law will be higher in legal power than all the laws and legislation that might contradict the bill. The draft law provides for the implementation of the referendum results in 48 hours after they are submitted and does not have any requirements concerning minimum turnout.
In order to facilitate the law adoption process, the supporters of Catalonia's independence have amended the parliament's standing orders. From now on, bills are adopted directly by Catalonia's parliament and only on their first reading. This simplified procedure used to be utilized only for bills that were supported by all the parliamentary groups.
On August 7, Spanish authorities vowed to challenge the bill on the independence referendum in court.
Catalonia has been seeking independence from Spain for years. On November 9, 2014, about 80 percent of the Catalans who took part in a non-binding referendum on the region's status as part of Spain voted in favor of Catalonia becoming an independent state. The vote was, however, ruled unconstitutional by the Spanish government and the Spanish Constitutional Court.
In early June, the president of the autonomous region, Carles Puigdemont, said that Catalonia would hold a referendum on independence from Spain on October 1, 2017, prompting criticism from Madrid.