Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria says the Catalan region cannot be granted the right to self-determination.
The Spanish official made the remarks in parliament on Tuesday, a day after more than two million people took part in an independence vote in Catalonia.
“The right to self-determination that you demand is not possible, neither under our constitution nor in any of the other democracies around us,” de Santamaria said in response to a Catalan nationalist lawmaker.
On November 9, more than 2.3 million people in Catalonia took part in a vote on independence despite bans by the government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Eligible voters were asked to decide if their region should become a state of its own, and if so, whether it should be an independent state.
About 80 percent of voters, or 1.8 million, said they wanted Catalonia to be an independent state, while 10 percent said they wanted a separate state only.
The statement by de Santamaria comes as the Catalan leader, Artur Mas, called the vote a “lesson in democracy.”
Mas said he would send a letter to Rajoy, asking him to organize a formal binding referendum on independence.
Catalonia moved towards greater autonomy in 2006 when it formally adopted a charter that assigned it the status of a “nation.” However, the nationhood claim was overruled by Spain’s Constitutional Court in 2010.
Many Catalans believe their economy would be more prosperous on its own, complaining that a high portion of their taxes goes to the central government in Madrid.
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