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Call for Catalan Independance loses steam

Mon 1st Mar 2010

TThe separatist movement in the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia was Monday seen as losing momentum after voter turn-out in unofficial referendums on independence dropped over the weekend. About 300,000 people had been called to vote in 80 localities on whether the wealthy region of more than 7 million residents should become independent from Spain.

Less than 22 % of those eligible to vote turned out to vote falling from 27 % in 160 localities in December 2009.

Those who did vote favoured independence. About 92 % of Sunday's voters supported an independent Catalonia, down from 94 % in December.

The votes were organized by separatist associations, without being recognized by the Spanish government.

The Catalan daily Periodico described the independence movement as "losing steam" though commentator Enric Martin saw a 20 % turnout as no mean achievement in a "basically symbolic" vote.

The other Spanish region to have made a significant call for independence is the Basque region.

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