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Catalonia Approves Plan to Secede From Spain Amid Deadlock

  • Caretaker government to dispute plan in Constitutional Court
  • Rajoy struggles to seal government deal as impasse drags on

Nationalists in Catalonia approved a plan to secede from Spain in a vote held by the region’s parliament, defying the nation’s Constitutional Court and challenging acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as he struggles to form a government.

QuickTake Catalonia — Spain’s Smoldering Separatists

Spain’s caretaker administration said it has called on the state’s attorney to present a challenge before the Constitutional Court dismissing the plan, which lists the steps that would be followed to create independence, including drafting a Catalan constitution.

The latest escalation in the multiyear separatist movement signals renewed impetus from Catalans to break away from Spain. It coincides with a seven-month political deadlock sparked by two inconclusive elections that left the nation without a government. While Rajoy increased his party’s seats in parliament in the second vote, he’s failed to agree on governing terms with other parties, fueling prospects for a third election.

Opposition leaders echoed the government’s rejection of the Catalan plan. The head of the Socialist party, Pedro Sanchez, said there can be no democracy without common rules, while Albert Rivera, the Catalan-born leader of liberals Ciudadanos, described it as a attack on Spanish democracy. They both have rejected supporting Rajoy’s candidacy to become premier again.

The 61-year-old Popular Party leader is due to meet King Felipe on Thursday to discuss the state of government negotiations. Facing a parliamentary defeat, Rajoy has said he won’t undergo a vote of confidence in the 350-seat chamber that is needed to become PM unless he has received enough pledged support from rivals to guarantee his victory.

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