Catalans have begun voting in elections that could lead to the north-eastern region breaking away from Spain, after the region’s leader Artur Mas made the running in the campaign by vowing to hold a referendum on independence for rich but indebted Catalonia. Catalonians on Sunday vote in local elections likely to install a government committed to pushing through a referendum on independence, that Madrid has said would be illegal under the Spanish constitution.
The snap elections, billed as the most important in the country’s post Franco history, were called following a spat between Spain’s ruling Popular Party and Catalan president Artur Mas over the way the heavily indebted region is financed. Mr Mas’s Convergència i Unió party argued Catalonia must be granted greater control over its tax revenues.
Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister, has so far rejected outright any attempt by Mr Mas to reform Catalonia’s financing, and has campaigned fiercely against any possible breakaway of the region, arguing it would prove a disaster both for Spain, and for Catalonia, which could risk losing membership of the European Union.
Full Article: Catalans vote in election: Voice of Russia.