NINE months after the Catalan parliament resolved to begin the process of creating an independent state, its government is vowing to do it with or without approval from Spain’s central government in Madrid.

Last month’s Spanish election left conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy short of the 176 seats required to form an administration and his talks with the Spanish Socialist Party have so far failed to form a coalition government.

Now, the Catalan government is preparing to defy Spain’s constitutional court by debating the findings of a working group on sovereignty, nine months after the Catalan parliament set out its 18-month roadmap to independence.

Catalan foreign affairs minister Raul Romeva told The National: “Today, the Parliament of Catalonia approved procedures for drawing up a constitution for the Catalan Republic.

“The Parliament, as the symbol of the Catalan people’s sovereignty, has approved the conclusions of the work that has been carried out by a special parliamentary committee over the last six months, in accordance with the democratic mandate given to the pro-independence parties who won a majority in Catalonia’s elections last September. Now it is up to Catalonia’s government to find ways to implement the committee’s recommendations, and advance in the effective exercise of our sovereignty.”

He said this was in response to the “will of the Catalan people expressed peacefully and democratically”, but he was critical of the continuing hostility shown by Madrid.

“Hostility towards Catalan institutions has been clear, as well as contempt for the basic democratic mandate from the Catalan people,” said Romeva. “There have been no political voices in Madrid in favour of finding ways to reach an understanding with Catalonia.

“In fact, there have even been undercover moves by Spanish authorities, like the recent leak of conversations between Spain’s current interior minister Jorge Fernández Díaz and the former director of Catalonia’s anti-fraud office Daniel de Alfonso, regarding a smear campaign against Catalonia’s pro-independence political parties at the time of last year’s elections.

“Despite being caught red-handed using the Spanish government for the purposes of his own political party, the minister neither resigned nor was fired, and continues in office to this day while the director of Catalonia’s anti-fraud office was fired by the Catalan Parliament.”

Romeva added that the independence roadmap had a clear timeline that was not movable.

“We said from the start that in 18 months’ time (the time we calculated as needed to have all necessary state structures in place) the Catalan people will be able to vote on whether they want Catalonia to become a new state in Europe or not. That deadline ends in summer 2017.”

He added that Catalonia would – like Scotland – aim to seek its own place within the European Union.

“Everyone understands that this is a civic, democratic and non-violent movement. And this is an irreversible process. It is true that there’s a special interest in our situation in certain countries like Scotland, even if our situations are different, though with similar aims.

“Once the Catalan people have the chance to vote and decide their own political future everyone will agree on Catalonia’s right to take the steps we are taking, and on the need to find Catalonia its rightful place in the EU and as a reliable partner in the international community.”