- Title: SPAIN: Catalonia call independence vote despite Scottish 'no'
- Date: 19th September 2014
- Summary: CAMACHO LEAVING BARCELONA, SPAIN (SEPTEMBER 19, 2014) (REUTERS) PRO-INDEPENDENCE SUPPORTERS OUTSIDE CATALAN PARLIAMENT BUILDING SIGN READING: "PARLIAMENT OF CATALONIA" CATALAN SEPARATISTS CHANTING "WE WILL VOTE" BEHIND BANNER READING "NOVEMBER 9, WE WILL VOTE" PEOPLE CHANTING "WE WILL VOTE" PEOPLE CHANTING "INDEPENDENCE" WOMAN WEARING CATALAN SEPARATIST "ESTELADA FLAG" AROUND HER HEAD CHANTING "INDEPENDENCE" VARIOUS OF PEOPLE CHANTING "INDEPENDENCE" OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT CATALAN SEPARATIST FLAG / FLAG SHOWING BALLOT (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) SEPARATIST, JORDI JORDA, SAYING: "The leading party - which I didn't vote - is doing things wonderfully. They are gathering the Catalan parties together in what has become a very important and necessary thing to do due to the social urgency we have here in Catalonia." (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) SEPARATIST, ISABEL BRUGLAS, SAYING: "This is one more step towards what we want to do and will do, whether the outcome is 'yes' or 'no'. We have been waiting for this for 300 years and it is time." PEOPLE CHANTING 33 (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) SEPARATIST, FRANCESC PALLARS, SAYING: "I would ask people to not step back. We have to make our country work. We are a lot of peaceful people and there is no other option than voting on November 9. But people must not step back." 34 VARIOUS OF CROWD OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT
- Embargoed: 4th October 2014 13:00
- Location: Spain
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA8XE3P1CROC6WPPO7P0YQE4492
- Story Text: The parliament of Catalonia on Friday (September 19) voted in favour of holding a non-binding consultation on independence, defying the government of centre-right President Mariano Rajoy who says the vote is illegal under the terms of the Spanish constitution.
Earlier on Friday, the leader of Spain's Catalonia region Artur Mas said he would defy Madrid to hold the vote in less than two months, saying his people deserved the same right to determine their future as Scots who voted to stay in Britain.
With its own language and culture, and a long-standing pro-independence movement that has gathered momentum in recent years of economic hardship, Catalonia has sought a referendum on independence similar to the one held in Scotland on Thursday (September 18).
Unlike London, which allowed the Scottish vote, Madrid says even a non-binding referendum would violate the Spanish constitution and has pledged to block it in the courts.
Spanish political leaders, including Rajoy and Socialist opposition leader Pedro Sanchez, hailed the Scottish "no" vote and said the outcome demonstrated the value of unity for Spain.
The government opened the door on Friday to revising how Spanish regions are financed but said any such move would not be linked to the Catalan independence movement.
Mas denied that the Scottish rejection of independence had hurt the Catalan secessionist cause..
The bill passed in the Catalan regional government, regional MPs said, gives Mas the power to call a non-binding referendum. Mas said he would sign it and would hold the vote on November 9.
"This law will be the legal framework so that the president can call in the next hours a public consultation for November 9," Joana Ortega, vice president of the government of Catalonia and member of Mas's CiU party said after the vote.
Mas said he was delighted by the result as he left parliament.
The leader of Rajoy's ruling People's Party however said it was a "sad day for Spaniards" and Spanish democracy.
"A law that is clearly unconstitutional has been approved to hold an illegal referendum to ask Catalans if they want to breakaway from the rest of Spain," Alicia Sanchez Camacho said. "For the first time, an unconstitutional law has been approved to hold an illegal referendum and break Spain up, to divide Catalans and remove Catalans from spain and Europe."
Madrid's refusal to grant a referendum has angered many Catalans, even some who favour continued union with Spain.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched last week in the streets of Barcelona for the right to hold a referendum. Polls show around 80 percent of people in the region of 7.5 million want a say on secession.
The Scottish "no" vote caused yields on Spanish bonds to tighten as investors saw it taking momentum away from Catalan secessionists and reducing risk. Yields bounced off Friday's lows after Mas's defiant comments.
Prime Minister Rajoy said the Scots' "no" was the best outcome "for themselves, for all of Britain and for the rest of Europe".
Opposition leader Sanchez said the outcome held lessons for Spain: "Scots have chosen self-government, the strengthening of their institutions and of their links with the United Kingdom, and that's the read-through that should be made in Spain."
In The Catalan capital Barcelona, independence supporters showed their delight waving the Catalan flag and chanting in support of a referendum outside parliament.
"The leading party - which I don't vote - is doing things wonderfully. They are gathering the Catalan parties together in what has become a very important and necessary thing to do due to the social urgency we have here in Catalonia," Jordi Jorda, a supporter of independence said.
"This is one more step towards what we want to do and will do, whether the outcome is 'yes' or 'no'. We have been waiting for this for 300 years and it is time," Isabel Bruglas, another supporter of breaking away from Spain said.
Francesc Pallard urged Catalans to remain firm in their conviction to gain independence.
"I would ask people to not step back. We have to make our country work. We are a lot of peaceful people and there is no other option than voting on November 9. But people must not step back," he said.
Announcing the referendum date puts Mas on a tricky path by opening the prospect of a court fight with Madrid. The Catalan leader did not lay out clear steps for his next move if Spain's central government blocks the vote.
He is under pressure from his coalition partners to go ahead with a referendum even if it is declared illegal, though many believe he would shy away from such a move.
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