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European Commission says Catalonia vote was illegal

By Sara Shayanian
European Commission says Catalonia vote was illegal
The European Union's executive branch on Monday called Catalonia, Spain's vote for independence a day earlier illegal. Photo by Juan Carlos Cardenas/EPA

Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The European Commission declared on Monday that referendum vote for independence in Catalonia, Spain, was illegal.

The body said Sunday's vote in Catalonia was not in accordance with the Spanish Constitution -- and that it's a domestic matter and must be addressed in a legal fashion.

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The commission, the European Union's executive branch, said it would continue to put its faith in Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to handle the matter.

"We also reiterate the legal position maintained by this Commission, as well as by its predecessors," the panel said in a statement.

"If a referendum were to be organized in accordance with the Spanish Constitution, this would mean that the territory to be exited would be outside the European Union."

Legalities aside, the European Commission noted "there are times for unity and stability, not for division and fragmentation," and "violence can never be an instrument in politics."

Clashes between police and voters led to more than 700 people hospitalized and 11 officers injured with both sides.

Officials say nearly 2 million Catalonians out of 2.3 million eligible voters opted to separate from Spain.

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The non-binding vote was outlawed by Madrid as unconstitutional.

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