1.6 million Catalans vote to split from Spain
A total of 80 percent of those who voted in symbolic referendum poll favor forming new nation

About 1.6 million Catalans - 80 percent of those polled in Catalonia's symbolic independence referendum at the weekend - chose to split from Spain, results have showed.

Results released on Monday revealed that, with 88 percent of votes counted, 1.6 million out of more than two million people who voted a day earlier favored forming a new nation that would be separate from the European Union and forced to reapply for membership.

A total of 5.4 million were eligible to vote in 1,317 centers hosting 6,695 polling stations, but many did not bother to participate amid worries over the fact the vote had no legal effect after Spain’s constitutional court in September suspended plans to hold a referendum on secession.

Catalan President Artur Mas said: "We were able to use our votes despite the intimidation of the Spanish state and despite their big obstacles."

Mas said he would send a letter to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday to ask the central government in Madrid to "listen to the aspirations of Catalonian people".

- 'Feast of democracy'

"Even if they do not listen, we will continue walking on this path," he added.

Oriol Junqueras, the leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia said that the vote was "a feast of democracy".

"There is no need to ask the Spanish government for our independence," he said.

Josep Guardiola, the former manager of soccer club Barcelona and current manager of Germany's Bayern Munich, traveled from Bavaria to Catalonia to cast his vote, saying: "The politicians must listen to the voice of the majority."

Polls in recent years showed the majority of Catalonia's 7.5 million inhabitants wanted an official vote on independence, while around half supported cutting centuries-old ties with Spain.

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Last Modified: 2014-11-10 20:11:43
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