Spain’s Constitutional Court blocked a Catalan secession drive on Wednesday, deepening confrontation and adding to political uncertainty in Spain before this month’s national election.

The Constitutional Court, in an unusually rapid decision, struck down a resolution by the Catalan regional assembly last month which set out a plan to establish a republic within 18 months in the well-off northeastern region which accounts for about a fifth of Spain’s economic output.

Declaring the resolution unconstitutional, the court said the Catalan assembly “cannot set itself up as a source of legal and political legitimacy to the point of assuming the authority to violate the constitutional order.”

The court was ruling on an appeal by the center-right government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has called Catalonian independence “nonsense” and declared that it will never happen.

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