Spanish court deals new blow to Catalan independence vote

Catalans with estelada or independence flags gather during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona Spain

September 11 marks the 'Diada, ' Catalonia's national day, which commemorates the fall of Barcelona to Spain in 1714 and is traditionally used by pro-independence activists to call for secession for the northeastern region with a distinct language.

Nadal who recently won the US Open said being a Spaniard he was anxious about the Catalan independence referendum, scheduled for October 1. "Both sides must make and effort and one can't just take unilateral decisions and from the other side we have to make Catalonia feel that we really want them and that we want them to be what they are, part of Spain".

The majority of regional governments are willing to back the referendum, although they don't necessarily back an independence vote.

The Constitutional Court last Thursday suspended the referendum after a legal challenge by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Most of Catalonia's 948 mayors have pledged to permit use of public spaces for the vote, but Ada Colau, head of the region's biggest city Barcelona, has asked for assurances that civil servants involved will not risk losing their jobs.

"If anyone urges you to go to a polling station, don't go, because the referendum can't take place, it would be an absolutely illegal act", Rajoy said.

Commenting for the first time on the political crisis, Spain's King Felipe VI said people should respect Spain's constitution, which forbids secession. The regional leader is allowed to declare independence from Spain within 48 hours of a "yes" vote, even if it is the result of a low turnout. "I am sure that the laws that pertain to all Spaniards will be preserved", the monarch said on Wednesday at the National Culture Awards in Cuenca.

The Constitutional Court of Spain accepted for review a lawsuit of the country's government against the Catalan law on the transition to independence, approved by the region's parliament on Thursday, El Mundo newspaper reported on Tuesday. Catalonia's pro-independence president Carles Puigdemont told reporters at the rally.

But Spain's economic problems, coupled with a perception that the wealthy northeastern region's 7.5 million people pay more in taxes to Madrid than they get in return, have pushed the independence question to the centre stage.

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