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AKIPRESS.COM - Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy repeated his threat to block attempts by leaders of Catalonia to hold an independence referendum in November, Sudan Vision reported.
“The head of the government is obliged to enforce the law, and this referendum is illegal,” Rajoy told a press conference after his talks with the President of the Regional Government of Catalonia, Artur Mas.
During the talks, Mas told Rajoy that he was “absolutely determined” to hold the referendum.
“I don't know what will happen on November 9. Artur Mas has said that he will not do anything illegal,” the Prime Minister of Spain added.
Rajoy insists a referendum would be illegal under Spain's constitution as it states sovereignty must be held nationally and not regionally. But Mas points to polls that show a large majority of Catalans back his planned vote.
Catalonia, a region of 7.5 million – 16 percent of the Spanish population – has long been an economic powerhouse in a country where just under a quarter of people are unemployed.
A growing number of Catalans resent the redistribution of their taxes to other parts of Spain and believe the region would be better off on its own. Support for independence itself was around 45 percent in April compared with some 20 percent before Mas took office in 2010.