Catalonia parliament votes for October 1 referendum on split from Spain

Poll: Spain Could Lose Major Region Within A Month

A Spanish court has billed 11 former Catalan officials 5.1 million euros for holding an informal independence vote three years ago, but the region's leaders say the penalty won't stop them from holding a binding referendum on the issue.

Lawmakers are confident the orders will be accepted due to pro-independence parties having a majority representation in the regional parliament, Reuters reported.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court about non-compliance with the court rulings by the Catalan parliament, which on Wednesday started discussing the law on a referendum, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said in a speech broadcast by the 24 Horas television channel Wednesday.

Lawmakers who back independence won an absolute majority in the 135-seat Catalan regional parliament for the first time in a September 2015 election. Click any of these buttons below! However, an earlier vote in November 2014 did go ahead even after Spain's constitutional court declared it was not an official referendum.

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"Everyone is looking at each other, and they don't have confidence in each other, but there is nobody (In Catalonia) able to show leadership and ask 'what are we doing?' when it seems that the most logical thing to do at this moment is to rectify", continued Rajoy.

Under the terms of the new laws, the Catalan Parliament will declare independence within 48 hours of a "yes" vote.

The vote on the bill is expected later Wednesday.

If the region pushes through with the referendum, it will move even further on its path towards a collision course with the national government, which has repeatedly argued that any attempt to break away from Spain is illegal and will not be recognised.

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Opposition lawmakers in Catalonia are contesting a decision by the head of the regional parliament to vote on a bill that paves the way for a controversial independence referendum.

Similar to the Kurdistan Region's aspirations of independence from Iraq, the majority of Catalans want to exercise their right to vote on whether to split from Spain.

Ines Arrimadas of Ciudadanos, leader of the official opposition in Catalonia, said the "illegal" bill not only lacked global support, but also violated the Catalans' rights.

"If Catalonia were to leave Spain, then Barcelona would have the luxury of choosing which League they wished to participate in".

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Catalonia, a region of 7.5 million people with its own language and culture that accounts for about one-fifth of Spain's economic output, has significant powers over matters such as education, healthcare and welfare.

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