Spain braced for unprecedented challenge to territorial unity from ‘illegal’ vote on issue of independence

Spain is bracing itself for an unprecedented challenge to its territorial unity as the Catalan regional government stages an independence referendum that has been suspended by the country’s constitutional court and dealt a series of devastating blows by the central government in Madrid.

The pro-sovereignty administration of Catalan president Carles Puigdemont says that as many as 5.3 million people are eligible to vote in the unilateral poll and has vowed to declare independence within 48 hours of a victory for the yes campaign. But the Spanish authorities, which have ruled Sunday’s referendum illegal and unconstitutional, insist that the vote will not take place.

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