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Catalonia's pro-referendum block stages summit

Associated Press logo Associated Press 23/12/2016

BARCELONA, Spain — Supporters of a referendum on Catalonia's independence met Friday to prepare for a vote in 2017 despite legal hurdles and the opposition of Spain's central government.

Spain's Constitution bans the secession of any territory, but regional leader Carles Puigdemont has promised to ask Catalans about the wealthy region's future with or without Madrid's permission.

Representatives of political parties, workers' unions and social groups attended the meeting in Barcelona, including the city's mayor, Ada Colau, who favors an agreement with central authorities before the vote.

The meeting aimed to reach a "national pact" of pro-referendum forces. Eight politicians from different parties were tasked with rallying support and overseeing preparations for a vote, attendees told local newspaper El Periodico.

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