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Catalonia approves independence referendum
Carles Puigdemont © Generalitat de Catalunya

Catalonia approves independence referendum

07/09/17Government

The parliament of Catalonia, Spain, have approved an independence referendum on 1 October which Madrid has vowed to veto.

Separatist parties which hold a small majority supported the referendum law and legal framework required to set up an independent state.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has asked the constitutional court to nullify it.

He will hold an emergency cabinet meeting today (7 September) and meet other party leaders.

His deputy earlier accused secessionists of snubbing democracy.

Catalonia already has autonomous powers but the regional government says it has popular support for full secession.

The Catalan government has a majority in the regional parliament made up of the separatist Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) coalition and the left-wing Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont signed the bill into local law almost immediately after the vote, when it was adopted with 72 votes in favour and 11 abstentions in the 135-seat chamber in Barcelona.

When the outcome was announced, separatist MPs broke into the official national anthem of Catalonia, Els Segadors.

Unionist MPs from the regional branches of Rajoy’s Popular Party (PP), the Socialist Party and the centrist Ciudadanos Party had left the chamber in protest before the vote.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría condemned the Catalan leadership for carrying out “an act of force” and for acting more like “dictatorial regimes than a democracy”.

Puigdemont accused her of threatening and insulting all Catalans.

The pro-independence Catalan government has been preparing for the 1 October vote for months. In its bill it said a ‘Yes’ vote would be followed within 48 hours by a declaration of independence.

Pan European Networks Ltd