The Supreme Court also rejects La Línea's consultation on becoming an autonomous city

The Supreme Court (TS) has confirmed the government's refusal to authorize the popular consultation requested by the City Council of La Línea de la Concepción to become an autonomous community, considering that it "clearly exceeds merely local interests" as it affects the territorial organisation of the State.

The Administrative Litigation Chamber, in a judgment drafted by its president, Pablo Lucas, upholds the agreement adopted on October 25, 2022, by the Council of Ministers that denied the popular consultation, approved on March 10 of that year by the local council with no votes against and two abstentions.

"Do you believe it is appropriate for the La Línea de la Concepción City Council to request the conversion of the municipality into an autonomous community in accordance with Article 144 a) of the Spanish Constitution?" they intended to ask.

To do this, the municipal government invoked Article 71 of the Regulatory Law on the Basis of Local Government, which states that "mayors, with prior agreement by an absolute majority of the Plenary and authorisation from the national government, may submit to a popular consultation those matters within the municipal competence and of a local nature that are of special relevance to the interests of the residents, with the exception of those related to local finance."

However, the Supreme Court clarifies that the mentioned consultation cannot be supported by this article because it "affects the territorial organisation of the State and the Autonomous Communities, an extremely delicate matter in which any alteration clearly exceeds merely local interests."

"It seems clear that establishing a municipality as an autonomous community directly affects the state and regional organisation, alters the territorial composition of the autonomous community, in this case, Andalusia, and therefore its Statute of Autonomy, and is beyond municipal competence," the Third Chamber details.

Nevertheless, it reproaches that "the municipal corporation has sought to obtain, through a means not intended for the purpose it aspires to, a response contrary to the legal order."

For the judges, "the use it has made of Article 71 completely distorts the procedure and prevents it from being treated in the framework that the law assigns to local popular consultations, and, in particular, together with the procedural singularity, it prevents positive silence from applying."

Therefore, it concludes that "the denial of authorisation is materially correct even though there has been unjustified passivity" in the processing of the procedure.