Spain to Sue Catalan President for 'Disobedience and Dishonesty'

Artur Mas
Catalan President Artur Mas gestures during a news conference at Palau de la Generalitat in Barcelona, November 11, 2014. Albert Gea/Reuters

Spain is to sue Catalan president Artur Mas for "disobedience and dishonesty" after he defied a court injunction not to hold a vote on secession, court sources said on Wednesday, potentially barring him from running in regional elections.

Mas and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have said they want to start a dialogue in the next days after two years of acrimonious fighting over Catalonia's relationship with Spain. Rajoy holds a news briefing at 1130 GMT /0630 ET on the matter.

On Tuesday, Mas proposed that they establish a permanent dialogue over Catalan independence and measures to boost the economy of the region, which accounts for about a fifth of Spain's population and economic output.

Close to two million Catalans voted on Sunday in favor of seceding from Spain in a symbolic vote following a legal block by the central government against a more formal, albeit still non-binding ballot.

While Rajoy has already said he would never agree on a legal referendum on Catalonian independence, last week he suggested Spain may reforming its constitution and give the autonomous community more say over tax collection and spending.

The court sources said the complaint was being fine tuned and was likely to be filed later on Wednesday or on Thursday.

The public prosecutor's case against Mas and his deputy Joana Ortega may stand in the way of this political push as it could eventually mean Mas is banned from running in the next regional elections, due to be held late in 2016.