Catalan Assembly Votes to Start Secession Process Defying Rajoy

Catalan Separatist Leader Oriol Junqueras Interview
Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg
  • Regional lawmakers vote 72-63 to pass separatist motion
  • Ballot on regional president to take place later Monday

Catalonia’s parliament passed a motion declaring the start of the process for breaking away from Spain, a move Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says is illegal.

The resolution was approved by 72 votes to 63, Carme Forcadell, the president of the regional assembly said Monday after the debate in parliament. Rajoy said he’ll ask the Constitutional Court to block the decision in a televised statement after the vote.

“Today we are solemnly starting a new state, a Catalan state, a republic, a Catalan republic,” Raul Romeva, parliamentary leader of the main separatist group, told lawmakers during the debate. “This was our commitment during the electoral campaign.”

The regional parliament is pushing ahead with its bid for independence even though it is yet to elect a regional leader, after September’s election left the main separatist alliance led by acting president Artur Mas short of a majority. The anti-capitalist party CUP, which backed the separatist motion, opposes Mas’s candidacy because of his support for business and the reports of corruption within his party. The assembly is due to vote on the presidency later Monday.

The extra-yield investors demand to hold Spanish 10-year bonds instead of comparable German securities rose 5.6 basis points to 128.2 basis points as of 2:22 p.m. in Barcelona. The gap rose earlier to as high as 129.2 basis points, the most in more than a month.

Rajoy will hold an extraordinary cabinet meeting Wednesday to discuss the situation in Catalonia, the prime minister said from Madrid. He has already spoken to the leader of the main opposition Socialist party, which also opposes Catalan independence, he said.

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