The Spanish Guardia Civil is interrogating Catalan government civil servants in relation to the October 1 independence referendum preparations, the ACN has learnt. Some of the interrogations refer to the institutional campaign launched by the government inviting citizens living abroad to register on the external electoral roll, which is totally voluntary. One of the companies that was bidding to supply the ballot boxes for the referendum also received a visit by Spanish police officers.

The Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, accused the People’s Party and the liberal C’s party of “frightening civil servants and public workers” to stop them taking part in the organization of the referendum. Both parties are openly opposed to an independence vote in Catalonia, which they consider illegal. Puigdemont insisted that the process is “absolutely legal” and warned that nothing will change Catalans’ determination to have a say about their future in October.

Puigdemont said in a speech in Parliament that the prosecution is “following orders from political parties” that are against the independence referendum. “They don’t want civil servants to even think about taking part in processes that are absolutely legal,” he complained.

Sources from the High Court in Barcelona told the ACN that they have not ordered any interrogations. Its instruction court number 13 is currently investigating whether the government obtained citizen’s fiscal details illegally –something that the executive totally denies. The same sources suggested that if the Guardia Civil is making interrogations within the framework of this case, popularly known as the ‘Vidal case’ after the name of the former senator that prompted the investigation, it is acting independently, as judicial police. The case is, in fact, secret.

The interrogation revelations come the day after the government nullified the public tender to supply the ballot boxes for the referendum. The Catalan president also said that the Spanish government is showing a “great interest” in “asking questions of companies that manufacture ballot boxes.” Officers of the Guardia Civil visited the headquarters of one of the two companies that were bidding to supply the ballot boxes, it has been revealed.

The Catalan president did not explain in Parliament what the government’s plan B is to supply ballot boxes after the tender was nullified. He said, however, that the executive will not give up and will explore “all possible means within the administrative process” to buy the ballot boxes. The Spanish general prosecution had presented a complaint in Court against the process.

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