BARCELONA: Catalonia will declare independence "immediately" if a majority of the Spanish region's voters opt for independence in a Scotland-style referendum called for October, its ruling coalition said today.
"If the majority of votes are for creating a Catalan republic, obviously independence will have to be declared immediately," said Gabriela Serra, a member of the separatist coalition that governs Catalonia.
Her comments came as the coalition introduced a law aimed at extracting the northeastern region from Spain's legal system, in a bid to circumvent all legal and practical challenges to organising a referendum.
It will be submitted to a vote in the regional parliament, where separatists hold a majority, at the end of August.
Catalonia, a wealthy region of 7.5 million inhabitants with its own language and customs, has long demanded greater autonomy.
For years separatist politicians in the region have tried to win approval from Spain's central government to hold a vote similar to Scotland's 2014 independence referendum from Britain, which resulted in a "no" vote.
But Madrid has remained steadfast in its opposition to such a vote, which it considers a threat to Spain's unity, and this time is no different.
The Constitutional Court has already quashed a resolution approved by Catalonia's parliament calling for the referendum to take place.
It has also warned Catalan's elected officials that they will face legal consequences if they take any steps towards holding such a vote.