AFP, September 23
Barcelona – Catalonia’s leader Artur Mas says the region will not need a referendum to break away from Spain if pro-separatist candidates win a majority of votes in Sunday’s regional election.
As tension mounts between the rich northeastern region and the Spanish government, Mas told AFP in an interview how he wants his drive for Catalan independence to play out after the vote.
If pro-separatist candidates win, Catalonia will declare independence in 18 months or two years, he said, warning that Catalonia will not pay its share of Spain’s debt if Madrid does not agree.
He said he did not want to make threats, but felt compelled to defend himself against a “campaign of intimidation” by opponents trying to “influence the vote”.
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