LA Linea town hall has voted to hold a referendum on breaking away from Andalucia.
The historic move could see the town becoming free and autonomous, even of Cadiz.
Every single member of the town’s council voted for the move at the July 8 hearing.
The procedure towards setting up a referendum can be initiated, although it will have to be approved by Spain’s central government.
The process would see La Linea having a similar legal situation to Ceuta and Melilla.
If, as expected, Madrid turns down the request, the council has vowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
The move has parallels with the Catalan situation, although mayor Jose Franco denies this insisting it is ‘vital due to the serious problems the city faces from its location near Africa and Gibraltar’.
In particular he cites the town’s low per capita income of just €760 per month and a high youth unemployment rate of 70%.
He said the spectre of Brexit had badly worsened the socio-economic situation and being independent would allow it to trade more easily with Gibraltar.
He believes the vast majority of the 63.000 residents would show their support for it.
Professor and former Constitutional Court lawyer Joaquin Urias believes that it is unconstitutional for a territory to declare itself an autonomous city.
“It is important to differentiate the legal formula from the social problem which is the origin”, said the University of Sevilla expert.
However, Antonio de Cabo de la Vega, a professor of constitutional law at Complutense University points out he could find no legal reason preventing La Linea from becoming an autonomous city.
The move is likely to be supported and encouraged by Gibraltar, with its Chief Minister Fabian Picardo already suggesting setting up a big free trade zone in La Linea.
A leading Gibraltar lawyer told the Olive Press he believed it is a great time to allow synergy to be explored further between Gibraltar and La Linea.
“It is amazing there is a city so rudely ignored by its own central government. You can’t treat your own people like this”, said Charles Gomez.
Gomez believes that Morocco and other competitors will definitely take advantage of what they jointly have in the Campo of Gibraltar if they don’t.
Meanwhile, Mayor Franco has been critical of those who try and ‘caricature’ the move to the Catalan situation.
He added he has ‘not the slightest interest in ending up in jail or being disqualified’ by holding an illegal referendum.
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