Separatist parties and the separatist Speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, attempted to push through the bill for the new independence referendum on Thursday morning, but by lunchtime had only managed to change the order of the day and listen to some proposals for amendments.

The session was suspended several times as opposition parties reminded the Speaker of points of order and parliamentary rules. Shouting frequently interrupted proceedings, in both directions.

The Secretary of the Catalan Parliament refused to order the bill published in the parliamentary gazette, so the Speaker—who ended her acceptance speech in 2015 with "Long live the Catalan republic!"—published it herself, from her own computer.

"I have never seen anything more shameful in all my political life", said Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, at a lunchtime press conference, at which she announced the public prosecutor would seek charges against Mrs. Forcadell for contempt and abuse of authority.

"Democracy has died" in the Catalan parliament under Forcadell, she added, describing the day's events as "embarrassing", "false" and "shameful".

Anna Gabriel, speaking for the CUP, whose seats guarantee the separatist majority and government, insisted that "we are a sovereign political subject".

Marta Rovira, the spokeswoman for Junts Pel Sí ("Together For Yes"), the ruling pro-independence coalition, said "this is not a debate for just any other law. It is a debate on the exercise of the right to self-determination".

Opposition groups protested that Mrs. Forcadell had refused to read legal advice from the parliament's own legal services warning that the referendum and secession bills were likely illegal and would constitute a crime.

The leader of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), Miquel Iceta, said in the chamber that his group would immediately petition for the protection of the Constitutional Court.

The spokesman for Ciudadanos said separatist parties and the Speaker were turning the chamber into "the Catalan national theatre".

Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera later said Spaniards were witnessing "a coup against democracy".

Spanish journalists observing the morning's events described them as "ridiculous", "a farce", "scandalous", "a tragedy", or "grotesque".

"Democracy", "vote", "liberty", "fearless" and "self-determination" were some of the preferred descriptors for supporters of Catalan independence.

Spanish media reported Mariano Rajoy had called an extraordinary cabinet meeting for Thursday morning, and that ministers were at no more than 30 minutes distance from the Prime Minister's office, Moncloa.

The session will continue after lunch.

Published: 11:34 pm, Sep 06 2017 (link)

Catalan Government Calls Referendum On Secession For October 1

Cat govt together
The Catalan government met to sign the referendum decree together. (Catalan government)

Shortly before 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, after 72 separatists MPs passed the bill in the regional parliament and after Catalan First Minister Carles Puigdemont signed the law, regional ministers together signed the document calling the October 1 referendum on secession from Spain.

Minutes earlier, the referendum bill, now the regional referendum law, was published in the official Catalan gazette, signed by the First Minister.

Published: 9:51 pm, Sep 06 2017 (link)

Rajoy Will Not Make Statement On Catalonia Tonight, PM's Office Says

The Prime Minister's office, Moncloa, confirmed to The Spain Report late on Wednesday evening that Mariano Rajoy would not be making a statement on the situation in Catalonia tonight after the separatist vote.

An extraordinary cabinet meeting is pencilled in for tomorrow, as are meetings with the leader of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, and Ciudadanos, Albert Rivera.

Published: 9:40 pm, Sep 06 2017 (link)

72 Separatist MPs Pass New Catalan Referendum Bill

On Wednesday evening, procedural matters became apparent that might have delayed the debate on the referendum bill for up to a month, past the date set for the vote itself. The Speaker chose to ignore those rules and pressed on with the debate, after a delay of several hours.

Party spokespersons made speeches outlining well-worn partisan positions on the referendum and independence debate and a vote was called. At that point, the Popular Party, the Socialist Party and Ciudadanos left the chamber.

The Popular Party left some Spanish and Catalan flags behind on their seats. Once they had left, a female Podemos MP removed them.

The Podemos coalition abstained. 72 MPs from Junts Pel Sí ("Together For Yes") and the CUP voted in favour of the new referendum bill.