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MADRID (Reuters) - The leader of Spain's Catalonia region announced on Wednesday its parliament would hold a vote of confidence in his pro-independence government in September, a step aimed at drumming up support for its separatist drive.
Carles Puigdemont of the "Junts pel Si" (Together for Yes) party said this was needed after his legislative partners from the anti-austerity CUP group rejected the proposed 2017 budget. A Sept. 28 vote would give time for a calm debate, he said.
The Catalan parliament voted on Wednesday to continue with its plans to detach the wealthy north-eastern region from Spain, despite a ruling by the Spanish Constitutional Court annulling its resolution to form an independent state.
Under the separatists' 18-month "roadmap," Catalan authorities are due to approve their own constitution and begin founding the necessary institutions for an independent state such as armed forces, a central bank and a legal system.
Spain's acting deputy prime minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, said her People's Party (PP) will table a motion at a cabinet meeting on Friday to take the result of Wednesday's Catalan parliament vote back to the Constitutional Court.
"Another ... very serious step has been taken," she said.
Puigdemont's push for independence got a fresh lease of life in June, following Britain's decision to leave the European Union without the approval of the remaining member states. He said at the time that this suggested Catalonia could claim independence without Madrid's consent.
Reporting by Catherine Bennett; Editing by Paul Day and Tom Heneghan