A SENIOR member of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) has said something is far wrong with democracy in Spain. And Montse Daban, chair of the ANC’s international committee, says it is getting worse.

Her comments, in an exclusive article for The National, came as the trial of former Catalan spokesperson in Spain’s national parliament, Francesc Homs, on charges of civil disobedience and perversion of justice, entered its second week at the country’s supreme court.

Homs has admitted his part in organising the non-binding independence referendum in 2014, in defiance of the Constitutional Court.

Homs has claimed that the notification he received from the court, five days before the poll, was unclear and ambiguous. If convicted, he could face a ban from politics of up to nine years.

Former president of Catalonia, Artur Mas, has already given evidence, in which he claimed that the Catalan regional government had left the entire organisation of the referendum in the hands of volunteers.

He said that although the assembly had done nothing to stop the poll going ahead, the Constitutional Court had not asked it to do anything to halt it.

Daban said this case was the latest in more than 400 judicial proceedings which had been launched against the Catalan Government, local and district authorities, as well as elected representatives, since the pro-independence movement started.

And she blamed it on central government’s “clear inability to negotiate”.

She said: “What are the charges? Democratic actions such as permitting a parliamentary debate, promoting a non-binding consultation on the political future of Catalans, sometimes even just waving a flag outside the town council.

“Something is very wrong with the Spanish democracy. And it’s getting worse.

“Such behaviour is the result of a clear inability to negotiate and is leading to an utterly irrational situation.”

She added that it had reduced Spanish democracy to the “level of a carnival: grotesque and ridiculous”.

Meanwhile, the body responsible for ensuring that the Catalan Government laws comply with the state’s statute of autonomy and the Spanish constitution, has approved the allocation of €5.8 million (£4.9m) in this year’s budget for the referendum it has called for September.

The Spanish Unionist Ciutadans, Catalan People’s Party (PPC) and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) asked the advisory Council for Statutory Guarantees to analyse the draft, although it added that a provision establishing the government as being responsible for the allocation, was unconstitutional.

Other allocations for electoral processes and participation were considered “technically correct and corresponding from a political perspective”.

However, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has guaranteed that the referendum will be carried out.

He said: “The government will call the referendum, since the allocation has been perfectly accepted,” adding that “the will of the vast majority of Catalans is to vote”.