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Catalan chief pledges 'binding' independence referendum

Catalonia’s separatist president said Friday that come what may, there would be a “legal and binding referendum” for independence from Spain next year despite fierce opposition from the central government. In an end of year televised message recorded at regional government headquarters in Barcelona, Carles Puigdemont said that 2017 would be a “crucial” year for the wealthy Spanish northeastern region run by a pro-independence administration. Puigdemont announced in the autumn that he would call an independence vote in September 2017, a move that was ratified in a resolution voted by the majority-separatist, regional parliament.

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