Spain’s Supreme Court Prevents La Línea De La Concepción From Holding ‘Referendum On Independence’ From Andalucia

Image of the Cadiz municipality of La Linea de la Concepcion.

Image of the Cadiz municipality of La Linea de la Concepcion. Credit: Cabeza2000/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

THE Supreme Court of Spain has prevented the Cádiz municipality of La Línea de la Concepción from holding a referendum to become a new Autonomous Community.

This Thursday, September 28, the Fourth Section of the Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court confirmed the agreement of the Council of Ministers of October 25, 2022 by which the City Council of La Línea de la Concepción was denied authorisation to hold a popular consultation to become an Autonomous Community.

The Chamber rejected the appeal of the City Council by considering that a consultation such as the one sought could be protected by Article 71 of the Law Regulating the Bases of the Local Regime.

‘It seems clear that erecting a municipality in an Autonomous Community directly affects the state and autonomous community, since it affects the territorial organisation of the State (Article 137 of the Constitution), alters the territorial composition of the Autonomous Community, in this case that of Andalucia and, therefore, to its Statute of Autonomy (Article 2), and is outside municipal jurisdiction’, the Court said.

A Council session in 2022, approved the holding of a referendum

On 10 March 2022, following authorisation from the Council of Ministers, a session of the town council of La Línea de la Concepción, with no votes against and two abstentions, approved the holding of a referendum.

‘Do you believe it is appropriate that the City Council of La Línea de la Concepción submit a petition to the National Government and the Cortes Generales to urge the conversion of the municipality into an autonomous community in accordance with art. 144 a) of the Spanish Constitution?’, those voting were asked at the time.

However, the Council of Ministers subsequently denied the requested authorisation for exceeding the provisions of Article 71 of the aforementioned Law Regulating the bases of the Local Regime.

This precept establishes that in accordance with the legislation of the State and the Autonomous Community: ‘When it has statutory competence for this purpose, the Mayors, with prior agreement by an absolute majority of the Plenary Session and authorisation of the Government of the Nation, may submit to popular consultation those matters of municipal and local jurisdiction that are of special relevance to the interests of the neighbors, with the exception of those related to the local Treasury’.

The Chamber expressed that the transformation sought by the City Council of La Línea de la Concepción to become an Autonomous Community through article 144 a) of the Constitution was not part of municipal jurisdiction.

This case – explained the Chamber – was nothing like the consultation authorised to the Town Councils of Villanueva de la Serena and Don Benito, which referred to the merger of both municipalities, while the Town Council of La Línea de la Concepción intended to establish itself as an autonomous community.

Given the position defended by the lawsuit, the Chamber alleged that Article 2 of the Andalucian Statute established that the territory of Andalucia: ‘Includes that of the municipalities of the provinces of Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Sevilla’.

‘Therefore, converting the municipality of La Línea de la Concepción into an Autonomous Community deprives the Autonomous Community of a part of its territory’, the Court concluded, as reported by

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at