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60 percent of Catalans want own state: Poll

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60 percent of Catalans want own state: Poll
Catalans formed a 400km (250 mile) human chain along the coast on the region's September 11th National Day to push for a referendum on political self-determination. File photo: José Jordan
11:00 CET+01:00
Almost two thirds of people living in the Spanish region of Catalonia want independence from the rest of Spain, poll results released on Tuesday show.

Some 59.6 percent of Catalans would be in favour of the region becoming a "new state of Europe", according to the poll carried out by CEO, a Catalan government research centre.

That is up from the 55 percent of voters who backed the proposal in a November CEO poll.

Meanwhile, just under 30 percent of the 1,600 polled people by the research centre said they were "against" or "totally against" an independent Catalonia.

The latest CEO poll was carried out in early to mid-December 2013 when regional political parties in Catalonia were negotiating questions for a possible vote on independence.

On December 12th, the regional government announced in-principle plans to hold a referendum on the issue of self-rule for the region with a population of 7.5 million people.

Parties led by the governing CiU alliance agreed to put two questions to voters on November 9th, asking first: "Do you think that Catalonia should be a State, yes or no?"

The second question for voters in the referendum would be: "If yes, do you want that State to be independent, yes or no?"

Spain's central government in Madrid has repeatedly said the referendum is not constitutional and will not take place.

The Spanish Government announced on Tuesday it would bring forward to April 8th a parliamentary debate on the Catalan Government's petition to be allowed to hold the referendum.

The debate had originally been scheduled for September.

Spain's El País newspaper argued on Wednesday the date had been brought forward to allow the Spanish Government to focus on the issue of Catalonia and Spain's territorial integrity during the campaign for upcoming European elections.

This would draw attention away from issues including abortion and government spending cuts, the paper argued.

Proud of their distinct language and culture and fed up after five years of stop-start recession, many people in Catalonia want to redraw the map of Spain, saying they feel short-changed by the central government which redistributes their taxes.

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