06:49 GMT27 January 2021
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    The Catalan government multiple times requested Madrid's approval to hold an independence referendum in the region, similar to the one held in Scotland.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Catalan government led by Artur Mas requested Madrid's approval "up to thirteen times" to hold an independence referendum in the region, similar to the one held in Scotland, Joan Tarda, a member of the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia political party, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    "However, we always received 'no' as an answer," Tarda said, adding that the call for a referendum was "a request from Catalan society."

    On Monday, the Parliament of Catalonia passed a resolution to begin the process of seceding from Spain. The initiative was backed by 72 votes in the 135-strong parliament.

    According to the lawmaker, Monday's vote represents a commitment to the "pact we concluded with the citizens during the election campaign" to begin the process that should ultimately lead to a referendum on whether to adopt a newly drafted constitution for the Catalan Republic.

    The process of gaining independence from Spain consists of forming a government and other state structures, as well as drawing up a constitution. Once a new constitution has been accepted, Catalonia can declare independence. According to supporters of Catalonia’s secession from Spain, the process should take approximately 18 months.

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Madrid would use all political and legal means to prevent Catalan from gaining independence and asked the country's Constitutional Court to declare the Catalan motion unconstitutional.

    Related:

    Catalonia Parliament Begins Process of Splitting From Spain
    Catalonia Takes First Steps to Splitting From Spain
    UN Chief Rejects Catalonia's Right to Self-Determination
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    independence, Joan Tarda, Catalonia, Spain
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