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Spanish court 'suspends Catalonia independence vote plan'

Spain's top court has preventively suspended the call for a referendum on Catalonia's independence after accepting an appeal by central authorities in Madrid, according to media reports.

The move was widely expected after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced the government was challenging both a controversial bill meant to legitimise the independence vote and a decree by the regional Catalan government summoning voters for the October 1 ballot.

According to court regulations, the suspension lasts for five months while judges come up with a ruling.

The pro-independence coalition ruling in Catalonia, a prosperous region in north-eastern Spain, claims the universal right to self-determination overrules Spain's laws.

AP

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