MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and opposition's Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez have agreed to work together on constitutional reforms to take the wind out of Catalan independence vote's sails as the November 9 deadline draws closer, Spanish newspaper Vozpopuli reported Monday.
Rajoy and Sanchez joined their efforts to stifle the Catalan separatist campaign in the belief that Spain is undergoing a period of genuine "national emergency," as the Socialists' leader put it.
This statement came after Catalan president Artur Mas' call for independence earlier this month, followed by the signing of a decree that scheduled the referendum for November 9. The central government in Madrid reacted to this initiative by vowing to block the vote by appealing to the country's top court.
Rajoy and Sanchez have already held two private meetings, in addition to frequent talks on the phone. Reports transpired in Spanish media that the meeting on 22 September saw the two politicians agree a pact that committed them to holding consultations on all major governmental decisions to fight Catalonia's rising nationalism. The agreement also reportedly included a commitment to launch a dialogue on constitutional reform.
On September 29, the Constitutional Court ruled to put the referendum on hold, prompting the Catalan regional government pledge to appeal the decision. Catalonia's Mas ordered to set up a panel to supervise the referendum, despite the court's ruling.
Meanwhile, the El Pais newspaper cited its recent poll results as saying that 45 percent of Catalans objected to the vote taking place without the Constitutional Court's backing.
Catalans have long been accusing the Spanish government of being a drain on the region's budget and constraining its linguistic and cultural autonomy.
Madrid claims Catalonia benefits from the union with Spain and already enjoys a wide autonomy. Now it seems like Rajoy's conservative People's Party (PP) and Sanchez's center-left Socialist-Democratic Party (PSOE) have put on a united front against the vote in Spain's wealthy northeastern region.