CATALAN President Artur Mas has called early regional elections for September 27.

The elections – originally expected to take place in 2016 – will be Catalunya’s third since 2010.

Mas says the early elections will be a key test of support for an independent Catalunya.

A symbolic vote on independence was held on November 9, despite strong opposition from the Madrid government.

In the non-binding poll more than 80% backed independence. However, the turnout was little more than 40%.

Madrid stands firmly against a referendum on independence and claims one would be wholly unconstitutional.

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