A Spanish foreign minister has compared the referendum on Catalonian independence to rape, as she called for long jail sentences the orchestrators of the vote.
In an interview with Sky News on Wednesday Irene Lozano, who is the Secretary of State for Global Spain, said she regularly used the metaphor when comparing the difference between legal and illegal votes in democratic societies.
She said: “Sex is not forbidden, like voting is not forbidden but you cannot do it forcefully, you have to have the permission to do it otherwise it’s rape, it is the same with democracy.”
Astonished presenter Dominic Waghorn responded: “I’m sorry you’re comparing holding a referendum against the wishes of central government to rape and are you honestly saying that should earn a sentence of 25 years?”
Lorzeno responded: “Any act is different if you do it if you have permission, and if you don’t have permission.
“And I say sex is ok, but if you don’t have permission then it becomes rape. This is what I said: so voting is okay, but if you don’t have permission then it becomes a criminal offence.”
A dozen Catalan separatist leaders and activists are currently on trial for rebellion and sedition over the illegal 2017 vote.
Former vice-president Oriol Junqueras is facing the harshest sentence of up to 25 years behind bars.
His boss, former president of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont fled abroad soon after the vote and remains in exile.
Lozano added: “Democracy is a complex regime, you have to apply the law, you have to obey the law and the people who are in charge of the original government in Catalonia at that moment are especially responsible to comply with the law and they didn’t do it.
Spain is still reeling from the fallout of the constitutional crisis caused by the referendum, which saw the region briefly declare independence in October.
Prime minister Pedro Sanchez’s minority socialist government failed to get his annual budget through parliament on Wednesday after Catalonian separatist deputies refused to support it.
The failure to pass the bill makes it likely there will be a snap general election in the country, even though Sanchez’s government has only been in power since June.