Spain's Catalonia region to hold early elections on Nov 25

MADRID, Sept 25 Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:53pm IST

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MADRID, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Spain's Catalonia region will hold early elections on November 25, regional president Artur Mas announced on Tuesday.

Catalonia generates one fifth of the Spanish economy but is also the most indebted Spanish region. Mas's call for greater tax autonomy was rejected last week by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, prompting the regional leader to call the early vote in a speech to the Catalan parliament in Barcelona.

Mas's conservative Convergence and Union (CiU) party would likely win an absolute majority in elections, strengthening his mandate to press on towards independence and delivering a blow to Rajoy who has called for national unity to counter the country's debt crisis.

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