Europe

Catalan parliament approves independence vote

  • 19 September 2014
  • From the section Europe
President of Catalonia Artur Mas (3rdR) celebrates after the Catalan Parliament approved the Law allowing Catalonia"s Government to call on a self-determination referendum from Spain on September 19, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jubilant scenes followed the approval of the independence consultation in Catalonia's parliament

Catalonia's parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of giving its regional president the power to call an independence "consultation".

Spain's government opposes the Catalan "consultation" vote and is taking the dispute to the Constitutional Court.

The move comes a day after Scotland voted against independence from the United Kingdom.

Catalan President Artur Mas said Scotland's referendum had "shown the way" for Catalonian independence.

He is preparing Catalonia for a similar vote on 9 November, with large-scale support for independence from Spain.

Catalonian lawmakers voted by a margin of 106 to 28 in favour of authorising the consultation.

Media captionThe Spanish government has said a referendum on Catalan independence would be unconstitutional, despite protests

Spain's Constitutional Court is expected to consider the Catalan case on Tuesday and could suspend the region's vote on independence.

'Strong message'

Mr Mas earlier said Scotland's rejection of independence was "not a setback" and that having the chance to vote was "the key point".

"This is a powerful and strong message that the UK is sending to the entire world - that if there is such a conflict elsewhere in the world you have the right way to try to resolve these differences," he said.

Scotland "has shown the way to others - the Catalan process continues", he added.

"My main commitment is to... organise the referendum and let the Catalan people vote," Mr Mas said.

Media captionCatalonian President Artur Mas: Scotland vote is "not a real setback"

"If they think in Madrid that by using legal frameworks they can stop the will of the Catalan people, they are wrong."

Resentment

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warmly welcomed the Scottish "No" to independence.

"With their decision, the Scottish have avoided the grave economic, social, institutional and political consequences that would have resulted from its separation from the United Kingdom and Europe," he said.

"They chose between integration and segregation, between isolation and openness, between stability and uncertainty, between security and a real risk, and they have chosen the most favourable option for everyone, for them, for the rest of the British citizens and for Europe."

Catalonia is one of Spain's richest and most highly industrialised regions, and also one of the most independent-minded.

Until recently, few Catalans had wanted full independence, but Spain's painful economic crisis has seen a surge in support for separation, correspondents say. There is resentment over the proportion of Catalan taxes used to support poorer regions.

Mr Mas can count on support from 79% of the deputies in Catalonia's parliament, the Spanish news agency Efe reports.

The pro-independence movement in Catalonia believes that once Mr Mas signs the new law, the region can go ahead with the independence vote.

Earlier this month hundreds of thousands of Catalans formed a "V" for "vote" along two of Barcelona's main roads calling for their right to vote.

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