People wave "estelada" flags, that symbolize Catalonia's independence, during a demonstration calling for the independence of Catalonia outside of the Parliament of Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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The president of Spain's powerful northeastern region of Catalonia Saturday formally called an independence referendum, the latest secession push in Europe and one of the most serious challenges to the Spanish state of recent years.Mas has said he will not do anything illegal but insists the vote will be held. He has suggested that if a referendum can't be held he may call early elections, which could be turned into a yes or no vote on independence. Unlike the Scotland vote, a pro-secession result in a referendum in Catalonia wouldn't result directly in secession but Mas says it would give him a political mandate to negotiate independence.In the referendum, Mas wants to ask Catalans two questions; first, if they think Catalonia should be a state, and, if so, should it be independent.
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