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News Link • Spain

Madrid tightens grip over Catalan spending to quash vote

• AP

Following the weekly meeting of the Spanish cabinet, Cristobal Montoro said the government is also giving Catalan officials 48 hours to comply with a new system to scrutinize public payments in order "to guarantee that not one euro will go toward financing illegal acts."

Montoro told reporters that the extraordinary controls were justified in order to pay civil servants and suppliers procuring services in education and health, among other essentials, while at the same time ensuring financial stability and defending the country's legal order.

Last week, Spain's constitutional court ordered to suspend an independence referendum that Catalan leaders had penciled in for Oct. 1.l while judges decide if it is unconstitutional, like Madrid argues.

Separatist politicians in Spain's richest region, which counts Barcelona as its major city, are still pressing ahead with the referendum despite the ban and the launch of a criminal investigation into three-quarters of Catalonia's mayors who have supported the vote.

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