- Title: Catalonia to hold independence referendum with or without Spain's consent
- Date: 28th September 2016
- Summary: BARCELONA, SPAIN (FILE - NOVEMBER 9, 2014) (REUTERS) PEOPLE QUEUING TO VOTE IN THE "CITIZEN CONSULTATION," ON INDEPENDENCE, AN INFORMAL REFERENDUM ON WHETHER CATALONIA SHOULD BREAKAWAY FROM SPAIN MAN VOTING MAN WEARING FC BARCELONA JERSEY VOTING BALLOT DROPPING TO BOTTOM OF BALLOT BOX PEOPLE IN QUEUE TO VOTE
- Embargoed: 13th October 2016 17:08
- Keywords: Catalonia Referendum Spain Independence Carles Puigdemont
- Location: BARCELONA, SPAIN
- City: BARCELONA, SPAIN
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00451HEGJR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Catalonia will hold a referendum on independence from Spain next year whether or not the Spanish government agrees to one, the region's head, Carles Puigdemont, said on Wednesday (September 28).
Puigdemont told the Catalan parliament he was willing to discuss the terms of a referendum with the central government, which steadfastly has opposed any such vote in the northeastern region, but otherwise he would hold one next September.
"We will work on the will to hold a referendum in agreement with the state at all times, but if we get to the end of the legislature and there is no positive response, we will be ready to climb the last step before declaring in an effective manner the independence of Catalonia and to hold a referendum the second fortnight of September next year," he said.
Spain's Constitutional Court in August annulled a resolution by Catalonia's assembly to press ahead with independence, sharpening the stand-off between the separatists and the central government of the conservative People's Party (PP).
Support for Catalan independence has grown in recent months, with almost 48 percent of Catalans supporting it in a poll in July, as Spain's national parties have failed to overcome a deadlock over forming a central government.
Puigdemont, who was sworn in as leader in January, said the Catalan parliament would approve all of the laws needed for an independent state by the end of July of next year, when an 18-month roadmap for his government's planned transition finishes.
On Thursday (September 29) Puigdemont faces a vote of confidence on his government that he called to test whether he still had the support of an anti-capitalist party which had rejected an annual budget bill in June. He is expected to pass the vote.
Acting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has refused to consider any measures that could help Catalonia, which accounts for almost a fifth of Spanish economic output, to hold a legally binding referendum. His government said in July it would seek criminal charges against the speaker of the Catalan parliament for allowing its lawmakers to vote for independence.
Rajoy's consistent anti-regionalism has alienated other conservative parties in Catalonia and in other regions such as the Basque country which in the past have helped form national governments in exchange for more favourable terms on regional issues.
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