BREAKING : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
The Catalan parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain.
Seventy lawmakers voted in favour, 10 voted against, while two cast blank ballots.
The decision was made during a secret vote in Barcelona on Friday afternoon.
The names of those who voted for independence were withheld, as the Spanish attorney general promised to charge those who voted in favour of independence with “rebellion”.
After the declaration, the Spanish government voted in favour of the application of Article 155 of the Constitution, which allows Madrid to directly administer the breakaway region.
Two right-wing parties, Citizens (Cs) and People’s Party (PP), along with the centre-left Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC), left the Catalan parliament before the vote in protest.
Alberto Rivera, president of Cs, took to Twitter to call the vote “illegal”. Miguel Iceta of the PSC said it was a “spectacular error”.
During the special plenary in the Catalan parliament on Friday, Carles Riera from the far-left Popular Unity Candidacy party, asked that the declaration be voted upon.
“We take this step on our feet, with our heads held high. Not on our knees like subjects, but as free people without fear,” he said.
Following the declaration, Spainish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for calm in a tweet.
“I ask for calm from all Spainards,” Rajoy said. “The rule of law will restore legality in Catalonia.”