Mas speaks after the decision
Mas speaks after the decision / EFE

Former leader of Catalonia banned from office over illegal referendum

  • Artur Mas is defiant after the two-year court order, criticising Spanish democracy, but faces other pressures and accusations

The former president of Catalonia, Artur Mas, has been banned from public office for two years by a Barcelona court for his part in the organisation of an independence referendum held in November 2014. Two other former regional ministers were also banned from office.

The court found that the regional government, headed by Mas at the time, had provided logistical support for the vote, despite the Constitutional Court ruling the vote illegal. Mas had claimed that the vote wasn't a referendum but a "voluntary political process". A decision is still awaited from the Supreme Court on Francesc Homs, ex-cabinet minister, on the same charge.

'Spain is a funfair democracy'

Mas hit out at the decision, saying that Spain was a "funfair democracy" and that the law wasn't the same for everyone. Mas also faces extra pressure on his political career as his name has been linked to the 'Palau' corruption case, when commission was allegedly paid to local politicians for awarding public contracts.

Another banned referendum is controversially planned for September this year by regional politicians.