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Catalonia mayors sign decree approving independence vote, defying Spanish government

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Catalonia mayors sign decree approving independence vote, defying Spanish government
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Municipal mayors in Catalonia have approved a decree agreeing to defy central government in Madrid and push ahead with a vote on independence, despite the Spanish Constitutional court ordering the referendum to be suspended.

In all 654 mayors signed the decree, with local leaders in Barcelona and six other municipalities the only ones not to sign the decree.

Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau said she did not want to risk further tensions between Catalonia and Madrid.

Legislation for the vote, which Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called “an intolerable act of disobedience”, was approved on Wednesday by the Catalan parliament, which is controlled by pro-independence parties.

However, Spain’s constitutional court has suspended the legislation while it determines whether the ballot is lawful, although in the past it has ruled that referendums can only be called by central government.

Despite this set back, Catalan politicians say the vote will be held as planned on 1 October.

The local government in the wealthy northeastern region already has some autonomous powers, but says there is popular support for full secession and has already approved the legal framework for a transition in the case of victory for independence.