According to a New York Times report, the president of Catalonia, Spain's powerful northern region, on Saturday formally gave call for a referendum to negotiate for independence. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the referendum planned for November 9 is illegal, adding that it wouldn't go ahead.
Artur Mas, president of Catalonia penned the decree to call for the referendum at the regional headquarters in the national capital. Most of Catalonia's leaders who support the referendum were present on the occasion, the NYT report said.
"Like all the nations of the world, Catalonia has the right to decide its political future," the NYT quoted Mas as saying.
Pro-independence sentiments have strengthened in Catalonia in recent years, fuelled by a sense that the region deserves better fiscal and political fortunes.
The Spanish constitution doesn't permit referendums on sovereignty that doesn't include all Spaniards, and experts feel its Constitutional Court would rule the referendum illegal.
On September 18, Scotland went to a referendum for independence in which 45 per cent supported the move. The two big cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh were divided on the call, with the latter favouring the secession call.