The central government of Spain has voted to prohibit a referendum on Catalan independence. Reuters has an article on the standoff:
Spain’s parliament voted on Tuesday to block the northern region of Catalonia from holding a referendum on independence, the latest step in a growing political battle between Barcelona and Madrid in the midst of a deepening economic downturn.
The motion to permit the referendum was brought to the lower house by the Catalan ERC party but was voted down by the ruling conservatives (PP), which hold an absolute majority, the opposition Socialists (PSOE) and the smaller UPyD party.
The heavily indebted region, responsible for a fifth of the country’s economic output, voted in favor of holding the referendum at the end of September, in defiance of Madrid.
The New York Times also has a lengthy article out about Catalan secession efforts and Artur Mas, the President of Catalonia and leader of the Convergència i Unió coalition. It notes that Mas’ politics are fairly middle of the road and he supports more European integration:
[H]e said in an interview this week, he would personally vote for independence if the opportunity arose. “Our ideal is to be part of the United States of Europe,” he said.
…He climbed the ladder of Catalonia’s politics over a long career as a public servant in the shadows of another politician, Jordi Pujol, who ran Catalonia for more than two decades. While hardly unknown in his region, Mr. Mas has surprised even party insiders this year by the way he has thrown caution to the wind in challenging Mr. Rajoy.