Voters in Catalonia approved a new charter giving the region greater independence in a regional referendum on 18 June. Just under 74 per cent voted yes to the autonomy plan, which is backed by the Spanish government and Catalonias ruling socialists and moderate nationalists but is opposed by the right-wing Popular Party and Catalan leftists, who are instead calling for full independence for the region. The no vote polled 20.8 per cent, while voter turn-out was 49 per cent. The new statute gives the northeastern region greater powers in taxation and judicial matters as well as greater control over immigration, airports and ports. The referendum represented the final step in a process that began last September when the regional parliament passed a new version of the 1979 statute regulating the division of power between Spain and Catalonia. Some critics of the new charter have expressed concern about its possible impact in other regions, which may now also start demanding greater independence.
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