Catalan Police Chief Resigns as Referendum on Secession Looms

  • Regional executive plans to hold secession vote on Oct. 1
  • Puigdemont replaced three members of Catalan cabinet last week

Catalan police chief Albert Batlle stepped down less than three months before the date set by the regional government to hold a vote on seceding from Spain.

Batlle resigned Monday, a press officer for the Barcelona-based police known as Mossos d’Esquadra said by phone Monday, without giving any reason for his departure.

Catalonia’s separatist government is raising the stakes in its challenge to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who says he won’t let any vote on independence go ahead because it’s against the Spanish constitution. The regional police force will be key to enforcing any court orders sought by the central government challenging regional President Carles Puigdemont’s bid to hold the secession vote.

Puigdemont named a new interior department head last week as he reshuffled his cabinet in preparation for calling the referendum on independence set for Oct. 1.

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