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Catalan leader vows to press head with independence referendum

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (left) and Catalan leader Artur Mas shake hands before a meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, on July 30, 2014The leader of Spain’s economically powerful region of Catalonia vowed Wednesday to press ahead with an independence referendum during talks with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who insists the poll is illegal. “My message was exactly the same as a year ago, we are absolutely determined to hold the consultation,” Artur Mas told reporters following a two-hour meeting with Rajoy. He said Rajoy reiterated his long-standing position during their talks that the referendum would be illegal under Spain’s constitution. Mas, who has headed the Catalan government since 2010, began pushing for the referendum after he failed to clinch a better financial deal from the central government for Catalonia in 2012.

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