Spain Shoots Down Barcelona Area's Independence Bid

But region vows to hold it anyway

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 9, 2014 3:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – Spain isn't letting Catalonia pull a Scotland. The Spanish parliament has voted decisively against letting the region, which includes Barcelona, hold a referendum on independence. The vote was 299 to 47, with only the Catalan and Basque parties voting in favor; the major Spanish parties were united against it, the BBC reports. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said secession would be "an economic disaster" for Spain and Catalonia, arguing that without Spain, Catalonia would become "the closest thing imaginable to the island of Robinson Crusoe."

But Catalan President Artur Mas says the region will hold the vote in November anyway, even though Spanish courts have ruled it illegal. "This is not the end. It is simply a new paragraph," he promised, according to the Telegraph. He said Catalan would "search through the legal frameworks and find a way." The wealthy region has been itching to cut Spain loose since the country's economic crisis began. A spokesman for one separatist party replied to Rajoy's comments by saying, "We are not Robinson Crusoe. Right now, we are Friday, the servant, who can't even choose his own name."

Pro-independence and Spanish people react outside Catalonia's parliament, as lawmakers were voting on whether to seek a referendum on independence from Spain in Barcelona, Spain, Jan. 16, 2014.   (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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