Challenging the 2017 Catalan budget in the Constitutional Court will not stop the referendum. That was the response from Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to the Spanish government’s agreement this Friday to take the matter of Catalan finances to court. On the last day of his official visit to the United States, Puigdemont warned Mariano Rajoy’s government that “any attempt to throw a spanner in the works will fail to stop” the referendum.
Puigdemont declared that "this won’t obstruct all possible governmental actions” and assured that his government would use the “wide room for manoeuvre” he believes they are still left by the budget approved by the Catalan parliament. Moreover, he argued that, regardless of any warning he may receive from the Constitutional Court, he still “retains the ability” to call “elections and consultations”.
Although the Spanish government’s appeal means that the items for electoral processes, popular consultations and citizen participatory processes identified in articles 4 and 9 of the budget law are temporarily suspended, these aren’t the only items in the budget that are linked to the referendum.
As ARA has revealed, there is another relevant item hidden within the contingency funds. The government’s objective when they foresaw this path was to be able to move forwards with the referendum even if the explicit item was suspended by the Constitutional Court. The contingency fund does not appear anywhere in the appeal, according to Spanish government sources.