Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Picture: REUTERS
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Picture: REUTERS

Madrid — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he hopes to defeat separatists in December’s Catalan election and called for a "massive" turnout by voters.

"We’re going to work so that independence groups don’t win," Rajoy told Spanish radio.

The Catalan independence crisis has triggered alarm in Brussels as the EU deals with the fallout of Britain’s planned departure from the EU.

More than 2,400 businesses have moved their legal headquarters out of Catalonia as uncertainty persists.

Rajoy dismissed the Catalonian government of former leader Carles Puigdemont in October over the independence bid, suspending the regional parliament and organising a new election.

The prime minister has been rallying support for his Popular Party in the December 21 election in Catalonia, a region that remains deeply divided over independence.

The Popular Party finished fifth in Catalonia’s 2015 election, in which pro-separatist groups gained power in the region of 7.5-million people.

The prime minister issued a call for massive participation in the December 21 poll in the hope that voters in favour of keeping Catalonia part of Spain put in a strong showing.

AFP

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