SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- Catalonia’s government has pledged to increase its secession efforts after more than two million people voted in a symbolic independence referendum despite opposition from Spain’s central government.
Artur Mas, the president of the nationalist government of Catalonia, on Sunday hailed the vote “a total success” and noted that the referendum “made it very clear that we want to govern ourselves.”
He further said that his government would make efforts to hold an official referendum and would seek international support to help persuade the Spanish government to let it happen.
“We deserve to vote in a legal and binding referendum and this is what we are going to try to do,” Mas added.
Catalan Vice President Joana Ortega said early on Monday that with approximately all votes counted, 80.72 percent of the Catalans have said yes-yes to two questions about the region’s independence.
Voters were asked to respond to two questions. “Do you want Catalonia to become a state?” and “If so, do you want Catalonia to be an independent state?”
Over 10 percent of the voters said Yes to the statehood and No to its independence, and 4.55 percent voted neither for the statehood of the region nor for its independence.
The “Yes” in the non-binding vote will not automatically lead to the secession of the region, but only gives the Catalan president the mandate to negotiate independence with the Spanish administration.
Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala, meanwhile, denounced the vote as “fruitless and useless.
“The government considers this to be a day of political propaganda organized by pro-independence forces and devoid of any kind of democratic validity,” he added in a statement in the Spanish government’s first reaction to the polls held on Sunday.