Catalonia to call off referendum vote | News | DW | 13.10.2014
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Catalonia to call off referendum vote

Catalonia is reportedly moving away from holding an independence vote in early November. The president of the northeastern Spanish region is expected instead to offer a political alternative.

Following a high-level dispute with Madrid, the Catalonian government appeared to be withdrawing its support from a secessionist movement overnight on Tuesday.

After they met with the Catalan government late on Monday, pro-referendum supporters confirmed that the referendum would be cancelled, according to Spanish media.

While it also indicated that Catalonian President Artur Mas would hold a press conference early Tuesday morning to outline an alternative plan, his spokesperson refused to comment on the situation

A pro-independence movement gained traction in the northeastern region this year while Spain continued to suffer through an economic crisis, which has prompted massive government budget cuts and fueled some of the highest unemployment in the eurozone.

Catalonia boasts the highest GDP in the country, even though its 7.5 million inhabitants make up only about 16 percent of Spain's total population. According to figures from the European Commission, Catalonia's exports account for 20 percent of the country's total exports. It also holds roughly 25 percent of foreign investments in Spain.

The nationalist movement raised fears that such a break off would greatly harm the ailing Spanish economy.

In late September, Spain's constitutional court suspended the referendum after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy filed an appeal to contest the vote, which he had argued was illegal.

kms/crh (AFP, Reuters)

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