Spain's Catalonia Region Calls Independence Vote

Just weeks after Scotland held a similar vote, Catalonia announced it will hold a referendum to decide whether to secede from Spain.

Spain's Catalonia Region Calls Independence Vote
Getty Images / Robert Marquardt

Taking a cue from Scotland, the Catalan President has called for a referendum on the region's independence from Spain Saturday — a move the Spanish government has openly criticized and vowed to block.

It comes just weeks after two million demonstrators marched in support of separating from Spain over issues related to the country's financial crisis ...

... and was bolstered by Scotland's own referendum earlier this month.

Secession supporters believe the region should be free to make its own decisions, as it accounts for a fifth of Spain's dwindling economy.

ARTUR MAS VIA RT: "Catalonia has the right to decide its political future."

VIA BBC: "We stand for democracy, dialogue and peace. We believe that political issues must be result by negotiation and civilized attitudes."

Headlines around the world have portrayed Catalan President Artur Mas as being "defiant" against Spain. 

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has been vocal about his opposition to both the Scotland and Catalonia referendums, telling reporters: "Everyone in Europe thinks that these processes are tremendously negative because they generate economic recessions and more poverty for everyone."

Talk of independence in Catalonia has surged in recent years. Polls show most Catalans are in favor of holding a referendum but remain split on a move for independence.

CNN reports Madrid has argued Catalonia is already relatively independent. The region has its own parliament and control over its own police force, education and wealth.

And unlike the Scottish referendum, Catalonia lacks the support from the central government. According to BBC, Madrid believes the vote to be illegal. Rajoy is expected to hold a meeting with the Constitutional Court to dispute the action next week.

If the Constitutional Court should decide to hear the case against Catalonia, the region would be forced to suspend its referendum until a final decision is made. The referendum is currently scheduled for Nov. 9.

This video includes images from Getty Images.