(P1) Spain’s CONSTITUTIONAL court has STRUCK DOWN the Catalonian REGIONAL PARLIAMENT’s MOTION to begin the process of SECESSION, ruling that the motion INFRINGES on the constitution.

(P2) The motion, passed in early November, aimed to begin the process of independence for the north-eastern region. The motion promoted by SEPARATISTS planned a “disconnection from the Spanish state” to establish a Catalan republic.

(P3) Reaction was SWIFT from the central government, which challenged the motion in Spain’s constitutional court within days.

(P4) On Wednesday, the court said its 11 MAGISTRATES had UNANIMOUSLY decided that the motion “IGNORES and infringes” on the rules written in the 1978 constitution.

(P5) The decision was HAILED by Spain’s conservative PRIME MINISTER, Mariano Rajoy, who said: “This makes the majority of Spaniards very happy. They believe in our country, in national SOVEREIGNTY, and in the equality of all.”

(P6) With just weeks left before Spaniards vote in one of the country’s closest elections in years, Rajoy has presented his People’s POLITICAL PARTY as the best protector of the country’s INTEGRITY. “With this decision, the court demonstrated that all Spaniards are equal before the law and nobody is above anyone else,” he said.

(P7) The decision was one of the quickest in the court’s history, coming three weeks after the central government LODGED its appeal.

(P8) The motion for secession was the first act of Catalonia’s regional parliament after September’s regional elections. Separatists gained a majority of seats in the parliament, but just 48% of the vote.

(P9) On Wednesday, the separatists said the court’s decision would have little effect on CURBING the political will of the regional parliament. “We will continue with the political will of the motion for secession that was approved by an absolute majority in our legally elected parliament,” said Neus Munté, the vice-president of the Catalonian regional government.

WORDS: 302

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/02/catalonia-secession-unconstitutional-spanish-court


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. How did your country become independent or take the form that it has today?
  3. Are there any regions of your country that are somewhat DISTINCT from the rest of the country?
  4. In Catalonia, the Catalan language is spoken more than the Spanish language, and the Basque language is also spoken in that part of Spain. How many different languages are spoken in your country?
  5. Yugoslavia broke up into seven nations, Czechoslovakia into two. Scotland recently decided not to separate from Great Britain; Quebec has often considered splitting from Canada, but has not done so. Do you think countries with multiple ETHNICITIES and languages should split apart, or remain one country?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Strike down
  • Prime minister
  • Political party

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