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King Felipe warns Catalan leader that respecting the law is “unavoidable”

Source: El Pais - Thu 23rd Jul 2015
King Felipe warns Catalan leader that respecting the law is “unavoidable”

King Felipe VI on Thursday reminded Catalan regional premier Artur Mas about the importance of respecting the laws in a democratic regime.

The Spanish monarch made his remarks a few days after Mas announced his intention of proclaiming independence if his pro-sovereignty bloc wins a majority of votes at the regional election scheduled for September 27.

"For the judiciary, as for all other state institutions, respect for the law is not, nor should it ever be, a mere formality or an alternative," he said. "At its deepest level, respecting the law is a source of legitimacy and an unavoidable requirement for democratic coexistence in peace and freedom."

Speaking in Barcelona before a group of newly appointed judges at an event that was also attended by the regional premier and new city mayor Ada Colau, Felipe VI defended the Spanish Constitution of 1978, calling it "our fundamental law, one that has presided one of the longest periods of stability in our history."

But it was not just the king who took the opportunity to remind his audience about the importance of the rule of law.

"There is no democracy without respect for the law," said Carlos Lesmes, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Felipe VI and Artur Mas held a one-hour face-to-face meeting on Friday of last week inside La Zarzuela royal palace in Madrid. Following the meeting, the monarch told the regional premier of Cantabria that the Catalan leader's attitude was "unmovable" and that he seemed to have no intention of slowing down his plans for secession.

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