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Catalonia Announces Oct. Independence Referendum

Catalonia Announces Oct. Independence ReferendumCatalonia Announces Oct. Independence Referendum

The leader of Spain's Catalonia region, where a separatist movement is in full swing, on Friday announced an independence referendum for October 1 in defiance of Madrid. People will be asked to vote on the question: "Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic," Carles Puigdemont said in Barcelona, Reuters reported.

If a majority votes "yes", the northeastern region's pro-independence government has said it will immediately start proceedings to separate from Spain.

But the central government in Madrid is firmly against the referendum, which Puigdemont had previously announced would take place without setting a date, and which Spain's Constitutional Court has already ruled is illegal.

As such, Catalan authorities face significant challenges to even hold a vote that would force people to break the law, particularly civil servants who will be called on to help organize the poll.

Catalonia, a wealthy, 7.5-million-strong region with its own language and customs, has long demanded greater autonomy.

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