Independence! Catalonia officially breaks away from Spain
Catalan parliament has declared independence from Spain
The Catalan parliament has declared independence from Spain following a secret ballot which received 70 votes in favor of independent rule, 10 against, and two blank ballots. The vote was boycotted by opposition members.
Slovenian Socialist party leaders have congratulated Catalonia on declaring independence.
Finnish MP Mikko Kärnä has also sent his congratulations and promised to put forward a motion to the Finnish Parliament for recognition of Catalonian independence.
European Council President Donald Tusk says the EU will continue to speak only to Spain.
The Spanish Senate has approved direct rule over Catalonia from Madrid. The cabinet is expected to convene at 4 pm GMT to adopt the first measures to govern the region.
This could include dismissing the local government and assuming direct supervision of Catalonia’s police forces.
Pro-independence supporters have started celebrating outside parliament in Barcelona.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is calling for calm amid the Catalan parliament’s decision, promising that “the rule of law will restore legality in Catalonia”.