The president of Spain’s north-eastern region of Catalonia has called an independence referendum in the latest secession push in Europe, and one of the most serious challenges to the state government in recent years, the Guardian reported.
The conservative Madrid -administration insists the referendum, planned for 9 November, is illegal and will not take place.
The Catalan leader, Artur Mas, called the referendum on Saturday. An emergency cabinet meeting is to be held on Saturday to address the issue.
It plans to challenge a recently-passed Catalan law permitting the referendum before the constitutional court, which it hopes will suspend the motion and halt the vote.
The announcement comes a week after Scotland voted against breaking away from the UK.
A long-standing pro-independence movement in Catalonia has gathered momentum during recent years of economic hardship.
Spain’s constitution doesn’t allow referendums on sovereignty that don’t include all Spaniards, and experts say the constitutional court would rule the vote illegal.
Mas has said he will not do anything illegal but insists the vote will be held.