Madrid tight­ens grip over Cata­lan spend­ing to stop in­de­pen­dence vote

Waterloo Region Record - - WORLD -

MADRID — Spain’s cen­tral au­thor­i­ties have in­creased their con­trol over Cat­alo­nia’s re­gional spend­ing to make sure that no funds are di­verted to pay­ing for a sus­pended in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum, the coun­try’s fi­nance min­is­ter said Fri­day.

Fol­low­ing the weekly meet­ing of the Span­ish cab­i­net, Cris­to­bal Mon­toro said the gov­ern­ment is also giv­ing Cata­lan of­fi­cials 48 hours to com­ply with a new sys­tem that calls for weekly — not monthly — re­ports “to guar­an­tee that not one euro will go to­ward fi­nanc­ing il­le­gal acts,” a move Cata­lan of­fi­cials refuse to do.

Mon­toro told re­porters the ex­tra­or­di­nary con­trols were jus­ti­fied in or­der to pay civil ser­vants and sup­pli­ers procur­ing ser­vices in ed­u­ca­tion and health, among other es­sen­tials, while at the same time en­sur­ing fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity and de­fend­ing the coun­try’s le­gal or­der.

Last week, Spain’s con­sti­tu­tional court de­cided to sus­pend an in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum that Cata­lan lead­ers had pen­cilled in for Oct. 1, while judges de­cide if it is un­con­sti­tu­tional, as the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Madrid has ar­gued.

Separatist politicians in Cat­alo­nia — Spain’s rich­est re­gion that has Barcelona as its ma­jor city — are still press­ing ahead with the ref­er­en­dum de­spite the ban and de­spite the launch of a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into three-quar­ters of Cat­alo­nia’s may­ors who have sup­ported the vote.

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