Pro-independence members of the Catalan parliament celebrate after last night's meeting. Jordi Boixareu via PA Images
it's a date

Catalonia says it will hold a referendum on independence from Spain next month

The Spanish government has pledged to do everything in its power to stop the vote.

THE CATALAN GOVERNMENT has signed a decree calling for a referendum on independence from Spain on 1 October.

The decree was signed by the president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, and the rest of his Cabinet in a bid to show a united front in the face of threats of legal action by Madrid, which deems the plebiscite illegal.

The government has said it would explore all political and legal avenues to stop the vote from taking place.

Home to 7.5 million people, Spain’s rich north-eastern region has its own widely spoken language and distinct culture.

Catalans’ longstanding calls for greater autonomy have intensified in recent years, in tandem with the country’s economic crisis and in the wake of Scotland’s own independence referendum.

Spain Catalonia Members of the Catalan Popular Party display Spanish flags just before abandoning the session ahead of the independence referendum vote. Manu Fernandez via PA Images Manu Fernandez via PA Images

Catalonia’s parliament announced in a bill published yesterday that if the pro-independence side wins the referendum, they will declare independence within 48 hours of the final result, the BBC reports.

Its regional parliament passed a law yesterday that will allow them to hold the referendum, despite heated opposition.

The law was adopted with 72 votes in favour and 11 abstentions.

Politicians who oppose independence for the wealthy northeastern region of Spain abandoned the chamber before the vote – a sign of the how significant Spain’s deepest political crises in decades will be.

- With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha © – AFP, 2017

Read: In or out? Barcelona are treading a fine line in the Catalan independence debate

Read: Catalonia can’t just decide it’s an independent country, says the UN

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