Catalonia calls off independence referendum

Catalonia has canceled its independence referendum, scheduled for November 9, and opts for alternatives to consult its citizens, Reuters reports on Tuesday.

The Catalan leader Artur Mas said that he wouldnot organize the referendum as planned, but will instead offer to hold a “consultation of citizens,” Reuters quotes him as saying at a news conference in Barcelona.

“There will be ballots and ballot boxes. We can’t apply the decree (to hold a referendum) but it will be possible to vote,” he said, adding that the new vote would be within the law.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy welcomed the decision and called for an open dialogue with the Catalan authorities.

“The fact that the referendum is not taking place is excellent news,” Reuters quoted him as saying at an event in Madrid.

While the referendum was suspended last month by Spain’s constitutional court, Catalonia’s regional government previously claimed it would still hold the ballot as planned.

On September 27, Catalan President Artur Mas signed a decree scheduling Catalonia’s independence referendum for November 9. The same day the Spanish government announced that it would block the motion by appealing to the Constitutional Court.

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