Home > News > World
Thursday April 24, 2014 MYT 1:33:48 AM
Thursday April 24, 2014 MYT 1:35:23 AM
BARCELONA (Reuters) - Catalan President Artur Mas said on Wednesday he would call a non-binding vote on the region's independence in November to let locals at least express an opinion after Madrid blocked a full referendum.
Spain's parliament this month overwhelmingly rejected the wealthy region's request to hold a plebiscite, arguing it was unconstitutional.
"The consultation will be called, and within a legal framework. The central government may try to annul it. But that doesn't depend on me," Mas told journalists in the region's capital Barcelona.
The northeastern region, which accounts for around a fifth of Spanish economic output and 16 percent of its population, has its own language and a long history of fighting for greater autonomy.
Calls for separation have become a headache for the central government as it fights massive unemployment and the scars of a long economic slump.
Mas said the constitution allowed a non-binding consultation.
"They should at the very least allow the Catalan people to express themselves democratically, according to Catalan law, and we ask that the government doesn't try to block a purely participatory process so we can know the Catalan opinion," he added.
If the vote is also blocked, Mas said he would call an election as a last resort which would be seen as proxy vote on independence.
Opinion polls show that around half of the people in Catalonia support independence from the rest of Spain. Around 80 percent want to at least vote on the matter, Mas said.
(Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
Lesotho's opposition forms coalition after tight election
Ten migrants die in Mediterranean, a thousand rescued
Germany says euro zone has hands full with existing Greek bailout programme
U.S., Europe weighing potential deeper Russia sanctions - Nuland
Malaysians abroad share how they celebrate our local festivals
8 Incredible food and wine adventures you can do in Australia!
Apple plans fix for Freak security bug
More Malaysians travelling to Japan
Principal’s mission and vision also contribute to SMK St Elizabeth’s success
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)