Catalonia's regional president, Carles Puigdemont speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Barcelona, Spain, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
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Catalonia's separatist government will hold a summit Friday to prepare an independence referendum it plans to stage in September, despite fierce opposition from Spain's central government.Santamaria has offered to negotiate with a list of economic and social demands made by Puigdemont but has refused to discuss the planned independence referendum, which her government deems illegal.While the government has taken a less rigid stance on Catalonia, it has used the courts to block all steps taken by the Catalan government towards independence.The Catalan government wants to win approval from Spain's central government to hold an independence referendum.Under Spanish law, regional governments cannot organize a referendum, only the central government can.The Catalan government lacks its own electoral commission and does not have a list of eligible voters to be able to stage a referendum but Pascal said it has a plan to get around these obstacles.
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