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Catalan Parliament Defies Madrid after Suspension of Independence Session | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Protesters joined by firefighters raise their hands as they gather during a general strike in Barcelona called by Catalan unions on October 3, 2017. AFP PHOTO / Josep LAGO

Madrid, Barcelona- The Catalan head of foreign affairs said on Friday that Catalonia’s parliament will meet on Monday in defiance of a decision by Spain’s Constitutional Court to suspend the session.

In a deepening standoff between those who support independence for the wealthy northeastern region and the Spanish central government, Raul Romeva told the BBC that Catalonia’s regional parliament would make a decision on independence.

The Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered the suspension of the session planned for next Monday after referendum results showed 90 percent supported in favor of breaking away from Spain.

Judges “ordered the suspension of the plenary that has been called for Monday in the (Catalan) parliament” while it hears an appeal by rival Catalan politicians, a spokeswoman said. 

The court confirmed the decision in a written ruling.

Catalan lawmakers had summoned regional president Carles Puigdemont to address the parliament about last Sunday’s contested independence referendum in Catalonia.

The court warned that any session carried out in defiance of its ban would be “null.”

It said the parliament’s leaders could face criminal action if they ignore the court order.

Puigdemont and other Catalan leaders have said they are not afraid of going to jail if Spanish authorities arrest them over their independence bid.

They have defied the court’s rulings in the past.

Puigdemont carried out the referendum in defiance of a ban by the Spanish court and stern warnings from the national government in Madrid.

The European Union has called for dialogue to end the crisis. But the EU’s economics affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Thursday that Catalonia “won’t be a member of the European Union” if it makes a unilateral declaration of independence.