The Straits Times
Published on Nov 24, 2012

Catalan leader seeks 'freedom' in snap election


BARCELONA (AFP) - The leader of Spain's Catalonia region has rallied cheering crowds to fight for "freedom" in snap elections on Sunday that he has recast as a vote for nationhood.

Mr Artur Mas, president of the north-eastern region, is openly defying a furious Madrid by promising a referendum on sovereignty for Catalonia if Sunday's vote gives him a mandate.

"We are not vassals of the state," he told thousands of people chanting "independence" in a Barcelona stadium, wrapping up a bitterly fought campaign before a day of pre-vote reflection on Saturday.

Mr Mas urged supporters to be "builders of freedom".