Spanish court bans Catalan parliament from meeting, declaring independence

Spanish court bans Catalan parliament from meeting, declaring independence

Lawyers for the Catalan parliament had also warned the session scheduled for Monday would be illegal because it was to include debate of the referendum result. Spain's 1978 Constitution bars any attempt to secede and rules that all Spanish nationals must have a say in the country's sovereignty.

The worldwide credit rating agency Standard & Poors said it may downgrade the sovereign debt rating of Catalonia in the next three months as tensions with Madrid escalate over the region's push for independence.

Following Sunday's vote, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont claimed a mandate for independence on the grounds that about 90 percent of 2.2 million voters voted yes.

Separatist parties only have a slim majority of the seats in the Catalan parliament.

Representatives of the Catalan authorities claim that the independence of the region made almost 90% of the people who voted on Sunday.

Zoido was speaking as Catalonia was brought to a halt by a general strike in protest at the actions of the two bodies during Sunday's independence referendum, declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court. Mr Puigdemont said the results of the vote validated the push to secede.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a conservative who has taken a hard line, faces a huge challenge to see off Catalan independence without further unrest.

There were also reports that the central government would approve a decree law on Friday to make it easier for companies to change their domicile, without calling a shareholders' meeting.

Kim Jong-un brother's murder trial begins as suspects plead not guilty
The trial is expected to run until 30 November, during which time over 40 witnesses are expected to be called upon. Defence lawyers said the real culprits have left Malaysia and the women's innocence will be proven in court.

The government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy - who called the vote a "mockery" and whose position has been supported by the Spanish king as well as other European Union leaders - has so far expressed little desire to involve a third-party negotiator.

With Spain's worst constitutional crisis in decades deepening, for the King to comment directly on a political event in or outside the country is nearly unprecedented.

In Wednesday's statement, Rajoy also condemned Puigdemont's criticism of King Felipe VI, who in a rare political speech on Tuesday said the Catalonian referendum organisers showed "disrespect to the powers of the state" and constitutional laws.

Regardless of the merits of independence, we should all condemn the atrocities of the police in preventing the Catalonians from exercising their right to vote, and the unforgivable acts of brutality used to subjugate their own citizens.

More than 800 people were injured in the police crackdown on the Catalan referendum on October 1.

A day after that, the leader of Catalonia accused the king of rejecting the mediator granted him by the Constitution.

"The regional government of Catalonia has chosen to ignore the law in organizing the referendum of last Sunday", he added.