Catalonia Political Parties Agree to Hold Independence Referendum, WSJ

MADRID—Catalonia’s largest political parties said Thursday they have agreed to hold a referendum on the possible independence of the northeastern Spanish region on November 9 next year, in a direct challenge to the country’s central government.

In a news conference, Catalan President Artur Mas, the leader of the main Catalan opposition party, and two leaders of smaller parties said the referendum is the logical conclusion of a growing pro-independence movement in the region, one of Spain’s wealthiest. The four parties account for a large majority of seats in the Catalan regional parliament.

Mr. Mas said Catalan voters will be asked whether they want that Catalonia „becomes a state.“

Opposition leader Oriol Junqueras said he expects to win a large majority in the vote, but added that he would also see a narrow victory as a mandate to declare independence.

Spokespeople for Spain’s central government weren’t immediately available for comment. Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has consistently said he opposes any such move toward independence.

Catalonia has been part of Spain since the late 15th century.

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