A consultation at the university last month was overwhelmingly in favour of a republic. | Miquel Àngel Cañellas

The electoral board has informed Arta and Valldemossa town halls they cannot permit "popular consultations" on the monarchy and a republic.

The board is citing both the law for holding general elections and the Constitution, which excludes the notion of a republic as a form of government. The elections law does not allow public authorities to accept requests for such consultations once the announcement of a general election has been made. This is in five weeks time. The consultations, meanwhile, have been scheduled for next Sunday (31 March) and the following Sunday. Other town halls for municipalities where the consultations are due to be held have yet to receive formal notification from the electoral board. They are Esporles, Llubi, Pollensa, Porreres, Santa Margalida and Sencelles.

Town halls aren't organising these consultations, but some local political parties are involved. The town halls' direct involvement is essentially that of allowing space for the consultations at markets or in the main squares. The organisers in Valldemossa are appealing against the board's decision, and the president of the Obra Cultural Balear, Josep de Luis, says that he doubts that the board have the power to ban the consultations.