Published: Thu, September 07, 2017
World Media | By June Phelps

Catalan parliament approves law to call referendum on independence

Catalan parliament approves law to call referendum on independence

A political crisis over the future of Spain's Catalonia region deepened on Wednesday, when Catalan MPs agreed to vote on an independence referendum.

The bill was submitted to the parliament outside of its normal schedule which prompted criticism from opposition parties.

Mas is the highest-ranking among Catalan politicians suspended from office and fined by the country's Supreme Court for organizing a non-binding vote on independence in 2014.

The controversial law also defines the details of the referendum, such as the question, which will be: "Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a Republic?".

Lawmakers are confident the orders will be accepted due to pro-independence parties having a majority representation in the regional parliament, Reuters reported.

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"They knew that I was not going to authorize it (the referendum) because I was neither able to, nor did I want to, but they didn't care about that", Rajoy said.

Tensions are running high among Catalan lawmakers as the regional parliament chose to vote on a bill that lays the ground for a controversial referendum on independence from Spain.

The Catalan regional assembly is expected to pass the motion to set up the mechanism to hold the referendum, which goes against the Spanish Constitution of 1977 which says that any such measure has to be approved by the Spanish Congress.

The cabinet that makes up the executive branch of Catalonia's government has unanimously endorsed a decree calling for an October 1 "binding self-determination referendum" on the region's independence from Spain.

Half of Catalonians support independence from Spain with a month to go before the region hopes to hold a referendum on the issue, according to a poll released Sunday by El Espanol.

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"Today's session has been an embarrassing show, a kick to democracy", Saenz de Santamaria has said in a televised press conference.

But a referendum in defiance of Spain's rule of law, without the blessing of central authorities, has inflamed controversy.

If the region pushes through with the referendum, it will move even further on its path towards a collision course with the national government, which has repeatedly argued that any attempt to break away from Spain is illegal and will not be recognised.

Adding to the rise in separatist sentiment has been a 2010 ruling by the Constitutional Court which struck down parts of a 2006 autonomy charter which granted new powers to Catalonia and recognised it as "a nation".

Catalonia is a prosperous region in northeastern Spain that already enjoys ample self-government.

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Be very clear that you will not split up Spain, but you are breaking up Catalonia.

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