Catalonia returns Artur Mas to serve as president

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ARTUR Mas, head of the pro-independence CiU, was re-elected president of Catalonia yesterday.

Mr Mas called elections in November, having proposed the referendum after Spain rejected demands to grant the region special fiscal powers. However, his party fared worse than expected in the election and was left needing a provisional partnership agreement with Catalonia’s pro-independence Republican Left. He won yesterday’s vote by 71 to 63.

Spain’s government says any referendum proposing a change in the region’s status within Spain would be illegal and unconstitutional.

Polls show Catalan residents are evenly divided over independence, but a majority opposes it if it means exiting the European Union.