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Catalonia independence: Parliament authorizes consultation vote

The Catalan parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor 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.

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

Catalonian lawmakers voted by a margin of 106 to 28 in favor of authorizing the consultation.

Spain’s Constitutional Court is expected to consider the Catalan case on September 23 and could suspend the region’s vote on independence.

Artur Mas earlier said Scotland’s rejection of independence was “not a setback” and that having the chance to vote was “the key point”.

Catalonia has a large-scale support for independence from Spain

Catalonia has a large-scale support for independence from Spain (photo AFP)

“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… organize the referendum and let the Catalan people vote,” Artur Mas said.

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

Spain’s PM 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 favorable 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 industrialized 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.

Artur 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 Artur Mas signs the new law, the region can go ahead with the independence vote.

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