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Madrid to take legal action over Catalan parliament vote

© AFP/File | Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (C), pictured October 10, 2018, says his government will take legal action after Catalonian separatist and anti-independence parties joined forces to vote for the resolution condemning the Spanish monarchy

MADRID (AFP) - 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Thursday his government would take legal action after Catalonia's parliament voted for a resolution condemning King Felipe VI and calling for the monarchy to be abolished.

Separatist parties and the left-wing, anti-independence En Comu Podem ("Together we Can") party joined forces to vote for the resolution which condemned the monarch's "intervention in the Catalan conflict" and called for "the abolition of an outdated and undemocratic institution like the monarchy."

Felipe VI is a divisive figure in the northeastern region since he made a stern speech in October 2017 denouncing the secession attempt by Catalan leaders.

Sanchez has until now trodden carefully as he negotiates with Catalan president Quim Torra in a bid to ease the situation in the region where roughly half of the population supports independence.

But on Thursday, he tweeted that "the resolution voted this afternoon in Catalonia's parliament that wants to reject and condemn the head of state is unacceptable."

"This government will adopt the legal measures at its disposal to defend the law, the constitution and state institutions," he added, without specifying what the measures would be.

In a statement, the Spanish government added that the resolution was "a product of the loss of direction of separatist groups which, inexplicably, got the support of another parliamentary group."

It blasted them for "using Catalan institutions to encourage the conflict and not to serve the general interest of all Catalans."

Without En Comu Podem, however, Catalonia's separatist government is in minority in the regional parliament due to a rift between two major pro-independence parties, casting doubt over the executive's viability.

This is a major change from December 2017, when separatist parties got an absolute majority in snap regional elections called by then prime minister Mariano Rajoy after the failed secession bid in October.

© 2018 AFP