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Spain to block Catalonia independence referendum

Spain’s government has vowed to block plans by parties in Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence on November 9, 2014.

“The poll will not be held,” Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon told journalists moments after Catalonia’s President, Artur Mas, announced a deal.

Artur Mas said agreement had been reached on the date and on two questions.

Spain’s government has vowed to block plans by parties in Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence on November 9 2014 640x359 photo

Spain’s government has vowed to block plans by parties in Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence on November 9, 2014

Voters would be asked if they wanted Catalonia to be a state and if they wanted it to be an independent state.

Artur Mas announced that an agreement had been reached in principle and had still to be approved formally by the parties internally.

Both Spain’s ruling conservatives, the Popular Party of PM Mariano Rajoy, and the Socialist opposition have long made clear they oppose a referendum.

Catalonia is one of Spain’s most developed regions, with a population of 7.5 million.

The region already has a wide degree of autonomy but the recent economic crisis has fuelled Catalan nationalism.

Opinion polls suggest Catalans are evenly split over independence.

The EU and NATO have warned that Catalonia would be excluded if it broke away from Spain.

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