Spanish state prosecutor starts investigations against 712 Catalan mayors

2017-09-13 21:55:59 GMT2017-09-14 05:55:59(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

MADRID, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Spanish State Prosecutor Jose Manuel Maza on Wednesday opened a criminal investigation into 712 mayors in the Catalan region, northeast Spain, who have signed a decree ceding local government offices for use in the Catalan independence referendum which is scheduled to be held on October 1.

The decision affects the city halls of important Catalan towns and cities such as Figueres, Girona, Manresa, Vic, Cambrils, Tortosa and Sitges, whose majors will now be investigated "in relation with the presumed acts of cooperation in the organization of the illegal referendum."

The move comes after the Spanish Constitutional Court accepted an appeal by the Spanish central government and temporarily suspended the transition law approved in the Catalan regional assembly to pave the way for the independence of the region.

The court had earlier accepted an appeal against the independence referendum, whose celebration is now illegal under Spanish law.

Wednesday also saw Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy appear to rule out constitutional reform as a way of diffusing the crisis. Speaking in a morning session in Congress, Rajoy said his task was to "defend the constitution" rather than to reform it.

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