A couple kiss while one of them carries a separatist Catalonian flags at a rally in support of independence in Barcelona, Spain October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Susana Vera
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Spain's worst political crisis in a generation comes to a head on Tuesday as Catalonia's leader could declare independence from Madrid in a move likely to send shock waves through Europe.At stake is the future of a region of 7.5 million people, one of Spain's economic powerhouses whose independence drive has raised concern for stability in the European Union.Puigdemont, a 54-year-old former journalist and life-long independence advocate, will address Catalan lawmakers in an extraordinary parliamentary session beginning at 1600 GMT. The Catalan president says an independence referendum that took place on October 1 despite a court ban ruling it unconstitutional justifies splitting from Madrid.Madrid insists that any independence declaration would not change the legal reality that Catalonia is one of Spain's semi-autonomous regions with laws governed by the national constitution.
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