World

MADRID – Catalonia’s parliament on Thursday voted  affirmative of holding a referendum on independence in next September  – causing serious concerns for Spain’s central government, which has consistently rejected the idea.

Catalonia’s separatist government won a confidence vote (72-63) it hopes will support its secession bid.

The move comes as a major setback for acting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has been in a standoff with Catalan separatists. His conservative People’s Party has repeatedly rejected requests from Barcelona to hold an independence vote.

The conservative party has even asked the Constitutional Court to invalidate a July resolution from the Catalonian parliament to pursue independence. The Constitutional Court said it was looking into whether it could file suit against the Catalonian parliament speaker for allowing the vote to take place, DW reported.

Regional president Carles Puigdemont said last week that he was still up for negotiating whether the referendum would be legally binding or not, but that he would hold it with or without Madrid’s permission.