Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Catalonia’s regional parliament passed a motion Friday to establish an independent Catalan Republic, voting to secede from Spain after an acrimonious debate that saw opposition lawmakers walk out in protest before the vote.

The vote in Barcelona came after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy delivered an impassioned speech in Madrid, urging the country’s Senate to grant his government special constitutional measures that would allow it to take control of Catalonia’s autonomous powers and halt the region’s independence bid.

The vote was approved with 70 in favor of independence, 10 against and two blank ballots in Catalonia’s 135-member parliament.

Rajoy immediately called for calm despite the vote, which Spain is deeply set against. No country in the world has expressed support for independence for Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain that has 7.5 million people.

“I call on all Spaniards to remain calm. The rule of law will restore legality to Catalonia,” he said on Twitter.

Separatist lawmakers in the regional parliament erupted in applause and chants when the chamber’s main speaker, Carme Forcadell, announced the passing of a motion to declare the region’s independence.

The lawmakers stood to chant the Catalan official anthem, joined by dozens of guests. Regional President Carles Puigdemont and his vice president, Oriol Junqueras, exchanged congratulatory embraces and handshakes following the ballot.

Outside, thousands who had gathered near the parliament building to call for independence cheered, with some dancing and raising glasses after seeing the vote and the counting live on a giant screen.

The motion that passed calls for beginning an independence process that includes drafting Catalonia’s new top laws and opening negotiations “on equal footing” with Spanish authorities to establish cooperation. (AP)

See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Pro-independence supporters cheer and wave “estelada” or pro independence flags in the square outside the Palau Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain, after Catalonia’s regional parliament passed a motion with which they say they are establishing an independent Catalan Republic, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Santi Palacios/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (R) walks with his wife Marcela Topor as he greets a supporter after leaving a restaurant the day after the Catalan regional parliament declared independence from Spain in Girona, Spain, Oct. 28, 2017. (Photo: Rafael Marchante/Reuters)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

People celebrate after the Catalan regional parliament passes the vote of independence from Spain in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Yves Herman/Reuters)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont speaks during a ceremony after the Catalan regional Parliament declared independence from Spain in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

People wave “estelada” or pro independence flags outside the Palau Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain, after Catalonia’s regional parliament passed a motion with which they say they are establishing an independent Catalan Republic, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

People sign Catalan anthem as they celebrate after the Catalan regional parliament declares the independence from Spain in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Juan Medina/Reuters)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy talks to reportes after a plenary session at the upper house Senate in Madrid, Spain, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Susana Vera/Reuters)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

People celebrate after Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare independence from Spain in Barcelona on Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Mayors of Catalonia celebrate after the news that the Catalan Parliament has voted in favour of independence from Spain at the Catalan Government building Generalitat de Catalunya on Oct. 27, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. MPs in the Catalan parliament have today voted following a two day session on how to respond the Spanish government’s enacting of Article 155, which would curtail Catalan autonomy. (Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

People celebrate after Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare independence from Spain on Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (R) is hugged by Minister of Health Antoni Comín as they react to the news that the Catalan Parliament has voted in favour of independence from Spain at the Catalan Government building Generalitat de Catalunya on Oct. 27, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

People react as they celebrate the unilateral declaration of independence of Catalonia outside the Catalan Parliament, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy leaves a session of the Upper House of Parliament in Madrid on Oct. 27, 2017.
The central government has invoked the never-before-used article 155 of the Constitution, designed to rein in rebel regions, as it seeks to end Catalonia’s drive to break from Spain. Spain’s upper house is in charge of approving or rejecting the power seizure of the semi-autonomous Catalonia region proposed by Madrid. (Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

People celebrate after the Catalan regional parliament declares the independence from Spain in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 27, 2017.
(Photo: Juan Medina/Reuters)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Opposition Catalan lawmakers hold Spanish national flags and Estelada’s before leaving the chamber to boycott a vote on independence inside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Manu Fernandez/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

People react as they celebrate the unilateral declaration of independence of Catalonia outside the Catalan Parliament, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont casts his ballot in a vote on independence in the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Manu Fernandez/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

A protester holding a Catalan flag reacts as she takes part in a rally outside the Catalan Parliament, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

A book of the Spanish constitution is placed on the benches of opposition Catalan lawmakers who left the chamber to boycott a vote on independence inside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Manu Fernandez/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Protesters with Catalan flags take part in a rally in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Catalonia’s parliament on Friday will resume debating its response to the Spanish government’s plans to strip away its regional powers to halt it pushing toward independence. (Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont arrives at the Catalan Government building Generalitat de Catalunya on Oct. 27, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, gestures as he attends a session of the Upper House of Parliament in Madrid on Oct. 27, 2017. (Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Protesters clap hands during a rally in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Catalonia’s parliament on Friday will resume debating its response to the Spanish government’s plans to strip away its regional powers to halt it pushing toward independence. (Photo: Santi Palacios/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

Protesters hold fake handcuffs as they take part a rally outside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Catalonia’s parliament on Friday will resume debating its response to the Spanish government’s plans to strip away its regional powers to halt it pushing toward independence. (Photo: Santi Palacios/AP)

Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain

People wave independence flags just after the speech of Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Puigdemont said Thursday he considered calling a snap election, but was choosing not to because he didn’t receive enough guarantees that the government’s “abusive” moves to take control of Catalonia would be suspended. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)