September 21, 2017 / 7:24 PM / a month ago

Catalan leader says will proceed with October 1 independence referendum

MADRID (Reuters) - The leader of Catalonia’s regional government, Carles Puigdemont, said on Thursday his administration would push on with a banned Oct. 1 referendum on a split from Spain, in defiance of a court order banning the vote.

Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont gestures during a Catalan pro-independence meeting for the referendum on October 1 in Girona, Spain, September 18, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea

“We will do it because we have contingency plans in place to ensure it happens, but above all because it has the support of the immense majority of the population who are sick of the arrogance and abuse of the People’s Party (PP) government,” he said in a televised statement.

The ruling PP government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and major opposition parties in Madrid have declared an independence referendum illegal and against Spain’s constitution.

Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Rodrigo de Miguel

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