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Spanish Parliament rejects Catalonia independence bid

Published on Apr 9, 2014 8:21 AM

MADRID (AFP) - Spain's Parliament on Tuesday shot down a Catalan petition to call a referendum on secession, setting the stage for a bitter sovereignty struggle between the government and the country's economic engine.

"I defend that Catalonia should remain in Spain because I can't conceive of Spain without Catalonia nor of Catalonia outside of Spain and Europe," Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told the assembly before the vote.

His conservative Popular Party, the main opposition Socialists and the centrist Union for Progress and Democracy were determined to block the petition and the outcome of the vote was never in doubt but the Catalonian authorities immediately vowed to fight on.

After a seven-hour debate, 299 members of Parliament voted against the request by the Catalonia region to be granted the right to call a referendum while 47 supported the petition and one abstained.

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