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Catalonia Calls Off Independence Vote

The regional leader of Catalonia called off the referendum for independence from Spain that was scheduled for Nov. 9. In a press conference Tuesday, regional leader Arthur Mas said he was still committed to Catalan independence and would hold an unofficial vote to gauge the public sentiment. “The Catalan government maintains its goal of holding a referendum on Nov. 9—it means there will be polling stations open, with ballot boxes and ballots,” said Mas. “It will depend on the people for a strong enough participation to show that people here want to vote.” Around 7.5 million people live in Catalonia, a region that has pushed for sovereignty from Spain for decades. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was strongly against the referendum. He requested that Spain’s Constitutional Court suspend the vote, and the court complied, halting the vote until it decided whether it would be unconstitutional. As a result of the vote suspension, pro-referendum leaders “determined that the vote can’t take place,” said Catalan politician Joan Herrera. Rajoy hailed the decision as “excellent news.”