Catalonia Sets Date for Referendum on Leaving Spain

Spain (Tasnim) – Catalonia’s parliament voted to hold an independence referendum on October 1, setting up a clash with the Spanish government that has vowed to stop what it says would be an illegal vote.

After 12 hours of often chaotic debate in the Barcelona parliament on Wednesday, a majority voted for the referendum and the legal framework to set up a new state, under which the assembly would declare independence within 48 hours of a “yes” vote.

Lawmakers who opposed independence abandoned the chamber before the vote, with some leaving Catalan flags in their empty seats, Reuters reported.

“Committed to freedom and democracy! We push on!” Catalonia’s deputy governor, Oriol Junqueras, tweeted after the vote.

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Polls in the northeastern region show support for self-rule waning as Spain’s economy improves. But the majority of Catalans do want the opportunity to vote on whether to split from Spain.

The government has asked the Spanish constitutional court to declare the referendum law void as soon as it is approved by the regional parliament. The Spanish constitution states that the country is indivisible.

The details of the referendum, which would pose the question “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent republic?” to all Spanish citizens living in Catalonia, were revealed amid a tense atmosphere in the 135-seat regional parliament.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told a news conference on Monday the government would come down with all the force of the law to ensure no referendum would go ahead.

This report prepared by Tasnim News Agency