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Catalonia leader calls for referendum

September 27, 2014

The president of the Catalonia region in Spain has signed a decree calling for an independence referendum. Spain's central government has vowed to block the ballot.

People hold letters forming the word 'independence' as they gather at the regional government headquarters in support of the referendum for independence at Sant Jaume square in Barcelona, Spain, 27 September 2014.
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Alberto Estevez

Catalan President Artur Mas on Saturday signed a formal decree calling for a referendum to be held on November 9, to ask Catalonians whether their region should break from Spain.

The powerful and wealthy northeastern region has a long-standing movement for independence, which has gained momentum in recent years due to Spain's struggling economy.

However, the Spanish government insists the planned referendum is illegal. It is expected to call an emergency cabinet meeting in the next days to launch an appeal to the country's constitutional court, aimed at blocking the vote.

Mas' push forward with independence plans comes just after people in Scotland voted against leaving the United Kingdom.

se/glb (AFP, Reuters, AP)