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Catalonia to Create Institutions for Independence Before 2014

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Catalan President Artur Mas pledged to create the institutions needed for an independent state next year as he prepares for a referendum on secession from Spain.

Catalonia’s government will create a tax agency and a public bank while transforming the regional police corps into a full force as part of preparations for the referendum, which he has pledged to be ready to hold as early as 2014. It will also draw up plans for social security, energy and justice, Mas told the regional parliament, which is set to swear him in for a second term tomorrow.

“The government will work to define and develop the structures of state for the new scenario,” Mas told the legislature in Barcelona today. “Catalonia must make its own national transition.”

Mas, who won a regional election on Nov. 25 without clinching a majority for his Convergencia i Unio party, will govern with the support of the separatist lawmakers of Catalan Republic Left. His plans set him up for a clash with the central government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, which says any referendum would be illegal and has pledged to take legal measures to prevent a plebiscite being called.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emma Ross-Thomas in Madrid at erossthomas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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