Catalonia's regional government President Artur Mas (C) delivers a speech during the investiture debate for the Catalan Government's presidency at the Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona Nov. 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO/LLUIS GENE
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The regional parliament of Catalonia launched a plan Monday to set up a road map for independence from Spain by 2017, defying warnings from the central government in Madrid that it is violating the nation's constitution.The groups together obtained a parliamentary majority in regional elections in September that they presented as a stand-in plebiscite on independence after the central government in Madrid refused to allow an official referendum.Catalan branches of Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party and the Socialist and the Citizens opposition parties had filed appeals to halt the vote, but Spain's Constitutional Court ruled last Thursday that it could go ahead.It gives the incoming government 30 days to start working on a new Catalan constitution, which would later be voted on in a referendum by the summer of 2017, and begin establishing a new tax office and social security administration.Anti-independence lawmakers say that denies separatists a legitimate democratic mandate to break away from Spain.
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